Expert Comment on New Jersey's Consideration of Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage

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Media Contact:Jeanne Leong | jleong@pobox.upenn.edu | 215-573-8151October 25, 2006

Expert Comment on New Jersey's Consideration of Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage

from the University of Pennsylvania

Oct. 25, 2006

Nathaniel Persily

A recent study by Dr. Persily of the University of Pennsylvania Law School of public opinion on same-sex marriage shows many more people support civil unions, which grant unmarried couples many of the legal rights of marriage.

"Our research has found that the backlash that followed the Massachusetts court's decision to allow gay marriage has completely subsided.  The share of the American public supportive of same-sex marriage has returned to the place it was before the courts got involved and appears to be on an upward trajectory. During that same period, an increasing share of the American public became in favor of same-sex civil unions that fall short of marriage.  The same-sex marriage debate in the courts has moved the national debate and public opinion to the left on this issue, even if no other state has followed Massachusetts' lead."

"Our conclusion is that because of the court decisions in 2003 and 2004, the debate over same-sex relationships moved to the left, and civil unions became the middle position."

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