Nearly half of Hawaiian voters support marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples, according to a new poll conducted by Public Policy Polling. The poll found that 49 percent of voters support the legalization of same-sex marriages, while only 40 percent oppose the measure. Eleven percent of respondents were undecided.
Hawaii was the first state to enter the gay marriage fray when a constitutional amendment was passed in 1998 defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman. However, the Hawaii Legislature passed a bill earlier this year making it the seventh state to legalize civil unions.
“This bill represents equal rights for everyone in Hawaii, everyone who comes here. This is to me the essence of the aloha spirit,” Governor Neil Abercrombie said at a signing ceremony in February. “With its signing, I want to say ‘welcome’ to the world, come to paradise.”
The poll also found that 77 percent support some recognition, such as civil unions, for gay couples. The poll was a random sampling of 568 Hawaii voters and the margin of error is 4.1 percent. Forty-nine percent of respondents identified as Democrats, 24 percent as Republican and 27 percent as independent.
Gay marriage is now legal in Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont and Washington, D.C.