Press Room

September 23, 2004

Category: Civil Unions

HRC: New Poll Shows Latino Electorate Opposes Discriminatory Amendment

'Latino voters don't want to see candidates playing politics with the Constitution,' said HRC President Cheryl Jacques.

WASHINGTON - A majority of the Latino electorate opposes a constitutional amendment banning marriage for same-sex couples and supports non-discrimination laws and civil union laws for same-sex couples, according to polling released today by Bendixen & Associates.
"Playing politics with the Constitution won't work to win over Latino voters," said Human Rights Campaign President Cheryl Jacques. "Like other voters, they want to see candidates focusing on job creation, health care and terrorism, not putting discrimination in the Constitution. Trying to use this as a wedge will fail in November."

"We do not support any type of constitutional amendment that hinders the civil rights of any individual. Any constitutional amendment should be progressive, not regressive," affirmed Gabriela Lemus, director of policy and legislation at the League of United Latin American Citizens. Lemus is also the founder of the LULAC Democracy Initiative. "This poll shows that the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment is an ineffective wedge among Latino voters."

With approximately 10 million registered Latino voters in the United States - or 7 percent of the voting population in 2000 - the Human Rights Campaign and the National Latino Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Organization commissioned the polling to gauge opinions among this important community in the critical months before the November election.

The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote this week on an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would deny marriage to same-sex couples. The Marriage Protection Amendment/H.J. Res. 106 (formerly known as the Federal Marriage Amendment) was introduced by Rep. Marilyn Musgrave and needs a two-thirds majority to win. A similar amendment was defeated in the Senate.
Among the poll's findings:

A majority - 55 percent - of Latino voters opposes a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

"The candidate's position on gay marriage" finished last among the four issues tested as to their impact on a voters' presidential decision.
The economy and the creation of jobs (57 percent), the quality of public education (36 percent), the war in Iraq (33 percent), access to affordable health care (33 percent) and terrorism (20 percent) finished considerably ahead of the constitutional amendment (12 percent) among issues that registered Latino voters chose from as the most important issue and the second most important issue of the 2004 campaign.
Only 6 percent of the Latino national electorate chose the constitutional amendment as their "most important issue in the 2004 presidential campaign"

Support for civil rights for gays has no political boundaries - 73 percent of Kerry supporters and 64 percent of Bush supporters are in favor of laws that protect gays from discrimination.

A clear majority of 54 percent supports allowing same-sex or gay couples to legally form civil unions.

The national survey was conducted by Bendixen & Associates July 6 through 13, 2004, among 800 Latino registered voters. There is a +/-3.5 percent margin of error. Read the memorandum on the poll.

The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that LGBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.