Latinos Support Legalizing Gay Marriage, Exit Polls Show

Revelers kiss as they celebrate early election returns favoring Washington state Referendum 74, which would legalize gay marr
Revelers kiss as they celebrate early election returns favoring Washington state Referendum 74, which would legalize gay marriage, during a large impromptu street gathering in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood, in the early hours of Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012. The re-election of President Barack Obama and Referendum 74 drew the most supporters to the streets. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Conservatives may have another problem wooing Hispanic voters.

Latino voters are more likely than the electorate in general to support gay marriage, according to exit polls reported by ABC News. The change, which other polling has tracked over the last year, indicates that the fast-growing Latino population may play a pivotal role in expanding gay marriage across the country.

According to ABC:

Nearly six-in-ten Latino voters (59%) said their state should legally recognize same-sex marriage while 32% said their state should not. But among all voters, about half (48%) favored legalization of gay marriage while nearly the same share said they would oppose it (47%).

Non-Hispanic whites were the most opposed to states legally sanctioning same-sex marriage (47% favored but 50% were opposed).

The news poses a problem for conservative opponents of gay marriage who had hoped their view would resonate with Latinos because of the community’s often talked about love for, "traditional family values." While opposition to gay marriage remains dominant among Latino evangelicals, the mainstream opinion among Hispanics appears to be evolving toward acceptance of same-sex couples.

In Latin America, gay marriage has also gained wider acceptance in recent years. Uruguay, Argentina and Mexico City all legalized gay marriage, while countries like Colombia and Brazil have taken steps to extend rights to same-sex civil unions.

Latinos aren’t alone -- exit polls showed a slight majority of black voters, 52 percent, also supported gay marriage. Last week, African Americans played a key role in passing Maryland’s gay marriage law, with 46 percent of black voters supporting the measure, according to The Washington Post. While that may not seem like much, it’s a big change from 2008, when 70 percent of black voters favored banning gay marriage in California.

Last week the states of Maine, Maryland and Washington also voted to legalize gay marriage, while Minnesota voted against defining marriage as a union solely between a man and a woman.

Gay marriage is also legal in Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, Massachusetts and Washington, D.C.



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