New poll: Indiana voters opposed to constitutional amendment on gay marriage

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Hoosiers are taking a stand on same-sex marriage. A majority believe amending the state constitution is the wrong way to address the issue. That's according to a new poll just released by Freedom Indiana.

By a margin of 64 to 36 percent, voters oppose amending the constitution to address same-sex marriage. That includes 57 percent of Republicans and two-thirds of independents and Democrats.

The statewide survey of 800 registered voters in Indiana was conducted by Bellwether Research for Freedom Indiana between September 17 – 19, 2013. Registered voters were reached via cell and landline telephone. The margin of error is +3.5% in 95 out of 100 cases.

A memo from Bellwether Research pollster Christine Matthews is available here:

The results indicate a reluctance on the part of Hoosiers to change the state constitution - not necessarily a reflection of their acceptance of gay marriage. Still, Megan Robertson with Freedom Indiana says her group, which is pushing for gay marriage, is encouraged by the results.

"If you look at the numbers, over 70 percent of Hoosiers believe there should be some kind of legal recognition. Not all of those people believe it should be called marriage and that is fine, but the point is if 70 percent approve of some sort of legal recognition then it seems like we shouldn't put some something like this in the constitution that would ban any kind of legal recognition including civil unions," she said.

The Republican majority in the Senate caucused Tuesday and will not reveal what issues they discussed. It would be hard to for lawmakers not to talk about this poll because everyone else is.

The poll results released Tuesday were to send a message to Indiana lawmakers who will have a big decision to make in the 2014 legislative session.

"The real question is, 'Are we going to let the people of Indiana decide this or not?'" said John Crane.

Crane has no stake in the game, other than that of taxpayer and voter, but he does want lawmakers to vote in favor of a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, so the voters of Indiana will have the final say.

"If somebody on a particular side of an issue comes out with a survey that is favorable to their position, I tend to be a little suspect, but at the end of the day, the real poll will be on Election Day, when people are able to go to the ballot box and vote one way or another on that issue," he added.

"Are we going to vote on every single issue that is already taken care of in law?" Megan Robertson asked.

A life-long Republican, Robertson resigned a position with Congressman Luke Messer to serve as campaign manager for a group called Freedom Indiana.

That group, comprised of businesses like Eli Lilly and Cummins Engine, along with other business and political leaders, believe a constitutional amendment would hurt the business climate of the state and is unnecessary, since gay marriage is already against the law in Indiana.

"We've been spending a lot of time saying a constitutional amendment is unnecessary and not the way to deal with this issue and as it turns out Hoosiers agree with that," Robertson said.

Like Candis Taylor, who works as a master hair stylist downtown.

"It shows that people are more open-minded about it than they used to be and this is quite a different world than when our parents and grandparents were growing up," she said while sitting in her styling chair at Icons Beauty and Barber Studio downtown.

On the circle, Crane sees it differently.

"I think people should be able to decide. Not the legislators, not the activists on either side and certainly not the courts. I think the people should be able to decide on this particular issue because it is so foundational to our society," he said.

Read more about how the poll was conducted.