Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Poll: Gay Marriage Divisive ; Kansans Strongly Favor LGBT Workplace Protections

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Poll: Gay Marriage Divisive ; Kansans Strongly Favor LGBT Workplace Protections

Article excerpt

Kansans are almost evenly divided on the idea of same-sex marriage, but strongly favor workplace protection for lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender individuals, according to a survey released Monday by Fort Hays State University.

The survey conducted by the school's Docking Institute of Public Affairs contacted 877 respondents who voted in the last general election by landlines or cellphones from Jan. 21 through Feb. 5. Of those surveyed, 49 percent expressed strong or some level of support for same-sex marriage while 47 percent were opposed, the survey reported.

Given the option to support full-marriage rights for same-sex couples, civil unions or no legal recognition at all, 42 percent of respondents supported full marriage, 31 percent civil unions and 23 percent opted for no legal recognition.

On the question of discrimination in the workplace, more than two- thirds of respondents (70 percent) said they would support a state law establishing workplace protections for LGBT individuals. An equal number said they wouldn't vote to re-elect a state legislator who supported a bill that would allow faith-based LGBT discrimination to take place.

But Kansans also value religious freedoms and reject attempts of those who would force their views on others, the survey concluded. Nearly three-quarters of respondents (73 percent) said churches shouldn't be forced to perform same-sex marriages. Another 60 percent of respondents said they could support legal marriage for LGBT individuals if churches weren't required to perform the weddings.

The survey was conducted on behalf of The Reformation Project, a Christian advocacy group for gay and transgender issues.

The margin of error for the survey was determined to be plus or minus 3.8 percent.

Chapman Rackaway, a Docking fellow and professor of political science at Fort Hays State, said frequency of church attendance and political partisanship were predictors of support or opposition to gay and transgender rights, as well as legislation to protect them. …

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