Metro

Poll: Vast majority supports R.I. legalizing same-sex marriage

Female students support the measure by 14 percentage points more than do male students

By
Senior Staff Writer
This article is part of the series Spring 2013 Student Poll

More than 91 percent of the undergraduate student population supports legalizing same-sex marriage in Rhode Island, according to a Herald poll conducted last month. Nearly 86 percent of female students responded that they strongly agree that Rhode Island should legalize same-sex marriage, while only 78 percent of male students strongly agreed with legalization. 

A 2012 Gallup poll reflected similar discrepancies in support across gender lines, with 56 percent of women agreeing that same-sex marriage should be legalized in the United States, but only 42 percent of men expressing similar support for such legislation.

Some students said they believe the variance in support can be attributed to the difference in how men and women perceive the idea of marriage.

“Maybe women think about it more … like a romanticized thing,” said Natasha Rosario ’16. “Maybe there are a greater number of women who are comfortable with LGBTQ,” she said, adding that the average woman may tend to sentimentalize same-sex marriage more than the average man.

“The answer I’m thinking of sounds sort of heteronormative,” said Susan Chakmakian ’14. “The way society works, women are depicted as thinking more about marriage than men are.” Often women are more “accepting” of behaving outside the status quo when compared to men, she added.

Tyler White ’13 said the difference in opinion likely stems from a biological rather than cultural difference.

“Naturally women are more compassionate,” White said. “Women’s brains work differently than men’s do, right?”

Kavya Ramanan ’15 said women might support same-sex marriage more because LGBTQ rights are often associated with the feminist cause.

“Because women traditionally are a marginalized group, and homosexuals are also another marginalized group, that there might be sort of … understanding that society isn’t totally set up for them,” said Rachel Bloom ’13. “Maybe it’s that mutual understanding that things could be better all around, so why not stand in solidarity with that group?” Marginalized groups can be more empathetic to adversity faced by other minorities, she added.

About 87 percent of students who identified as “white” strongly agree with legalization compared to just three-quarters of students who identified as “non-white.”

The Herald poll revealed a nuanced correlation between religious affiliation and approval for legalizing same-sex marriage. Seventy-five percent of those who identified as Protestant strongly agreed that same-sex marriage should be legalized. But Protestants also comprised the largest percentage of those who expressed strong disagreement with legalizing same-sex marriage at slightly more than 11 percent.

About 92 percent of those who identified as Jewish strongly agreed with legalization, with atheists, agnostics and those reporting “other” religious affiliation expressing similar support.

Bloom said she believes religious affiliation plays into the discrepancy apparent between support among racial groups.

“You’d think it might be the other way around,” Chakmakian said. As marginalized groups, minorities and LGBTQ individuals might stand in solidarity, she said, but “a lot of people in media who support same-sex marriage are also white.”

“My guess would be that people that object to same-sex marriage are probably objecting along politically conservative lines or religious lines,” said Ralph Rodriguez, associate professor of American studies. “Are they against same-sex marriage because they’re of a certain racial group, or because they’re of a certain faith?” he said.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jeanjacques.burlamaqui Jean-Jacques Burlamaqui

    Same-sex marriage PURPOSELY separates a child from at least one biological parent. Non-biological parents lack the advantage of consanguineous insight leaving them all too often ill-prepared to protect the child from unforeseen hazards. Left unrecognized and unattended, vicious habits, and irregular passions, obfuscate the mind; and neglect, levity, and prejudices of the ill-equipped non-biological parents precipitate a child into the grossest of errors, rendering the child’s conduct a burden to the happiness of both society and the life of the child.

    Same-sex marriage proponents demand “Marriage Equality”, yet, in return, they offer less-than-equal protection of the child’s happiness than can be afforded by the presence of both biological parents.

    Same-sex proponents profess that it is love which gives the right to join the institution of marriage, yet, in doing so, they selfishly violate the principle loving objective of this noble institution; to protect a child’s Natural Right to be raised by both biological parents.

    Same-sex marriage is not justice in the eyes of a child. Same-sex marriage is an abuse of power, a tyrannical subversion of the fundamental principles of marriage and the duties which it enjoins; contrary to the nature and state of man, same-sex marriage is merely the unwarranted whims of an ignorant and selfish generation whose immoral conduct is nothing less that an embarrassment to the dignity of mankind.

    • Peppy

      Your arguments hold only if a child is kidnapped from the biological parents and given to same-sex couples, which is a stupid idea! But, what if that child is abandoned by his/her biological parents in a foster home, where undoubtedly will (more or less) feel neglected and unloved. Don’t you think that a child might be better off in a loving home, where much attention would be given to him/her than in a foster home?!

    • to_tell_the_truth

      Re: “Same-sex marriage PURPOSELY separates a child from at least one biological parent”

      Pure, unadulterated poppycock! I’ve been legally married for close to a decade now and NOT ONE CHILD has been “separated” from ANY parent because of it.

      Most same-gender headed households with children have adopted them, which means that they had ALREADY BEEN separated from BOTH biological parents (usually it’s heterosexuals that do the abandoning, btw).

      Re: “vicious habits, and irregular passions, obfuscate the mind”

      Talk about high-falutin’ irrelevancies!

      When you talk about “ill-equipped non-biological parents”, you insult ALL adoptive parents – both gay and str8.
      Here’s a much needed clue: children are not a requirement of marriage. For anyone.
      Typing B.S. like that, and you WONDER why you are not believed.

  • anonymous

    “Naturally women are more compassionate” Can you please spare the sexism, as well as the slur against all those opposed to SSM

    • to_tell_the_truth

      Those who oppose equality for SOME citizens have no compassion.