New polling shows opposition to same sex marriage is growing among Kentucky voters.
According to the most recent Bluegrass poll, 57 percent of the registered voters surveyed earlier this month said they don’t support same sex marriage. That’s compared to 50 percent last summer.
The poll, which was paid for by the Lexington Herald-Leader, The Courier-Journal, WKYT-TV and WHAS-TV, was released last week ahead of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on a challenge to Kentucky’s gay marriage ban.
The nation’s highest court is set to rule on the case this summer—along with same-sex marriage cases from Tennessee, Ohio and Michigan. Justices are expected to rule in favor of gay marriage and settle the issue nationwide once and for all.
Chris Hartman, Director of The Fairness Campaign in Louisville, suggested expectation about the looming decision are largely to blame for the recent increase in gay marriage opposition.
“Folks who are on the other side realized that they are losing the ground from under them on this issue,” he said. “It’s not a surprise that opponents are becoming noisier and more vocal and that there is more fervent opposition because this issue is probably going to be over very soon.”
Martin Cothran with the Family Foundation of Kentucky argued it is not inevitable that the ruling will be accepted by everyone, though.
“I think the reason that groups like the Fairness Alliance have been successful is this sort of impression of inevitability and I think that is one of the things that this poll is evidence against,” he said.
Hartman said waning support in Kentucky for gay marriage won’t have an effect on the court’s decision. He believes the state’s ban is unconstitutional and the Supreme Court will likely strike it down for that reason alone.
“When public opinion is in conflict with the Constitution of the United States of America, inevitably the Constitution wins,” Hartman said.
However, Cothran doesn’t agree with rulings across the country striking down gay marriage bans. He said judges “are looking for a particular result rather than interpreting the Constitution, which really doesn’t say anything on this.”
Hartman said he was largely unsurprised by the survey’s results. Although, he pointed out the polling debunked the myth that black voters are less supportive of gay rights. According to the poll, 40 percent of black voters supported gay marriage, while only 33 percent of white voters were in favor.
Hartman said that if gay marriage becomes legal, all of those numbers will likely change.
“The dust will settle around us all and people will realize that the only thing that happens when LGBT people get married is that LGBT people get married,” he said.
Hartman believes gay marriage will improve the Commonwealth’s economy, and then more voters are likely get on board, as well.