Alaska in Brief

Before U.S. Senate vote, poll finds majority support in Alaska for same-sex marriage

By: - September 12, 2022 5:50 pm

Robert Oliver and Mark Heller (R) hold hands, draped in flags, as they celebrate the Supreme Court ruling upholding same-sex marriage on June 26, 2015, in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

As the U.S. Senate prepares to vote on a bill protecting the rights of same-sex couples to marry, a new poll indicates majority support for same-sex marriage in Alaska.

The poll, which surveyed 400 Alaskans between Aug. 22 and Aug. 31, found 62% of respondents believe same-sex couples should have the same marriage rights as opposite-sex couples.

Twenty-four percent of respondents said they oppose same-sex marriage rights, and 14% of respondents said they are unsure. 

The new poll was commissioned by Centerline Action, a nonprofit that is urging Senate Republicans to vote in favor of the bill. 

Sixty votes are needed for the bill to become law, and Democrats hold 50 seats in the Senate, meaning that some Republican support is necessary.

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, has said that she is likely to support of the bill. Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, has been noncommittal about his vote. 

Polling on same-sex marriage is limited in Alaska, but Ivan Moore of Alaska Survey Research said the result is similar to a poll he performed in late 2016

That poll, which asked whether it should be legal for same-sex couples to marry, found 69% of Alaskans in support. A 2014 survey by Pew Research Center found 59% of Alaskans in support of same-sex marriage.

Both figures are a significant increase from 1998, when 68% of participating voters approved a constitutional amendment outlawing same-sex marriage. 

That amendment was overturned by a 2014 federal district court decision here and in 2015 by the U.S. Supreme Court.  

Without a change in federal law, the ban would be reimposed if the court reverses itself, as it did this year when it reinterpreted its stance on abortion rights. 

That decision has encouraged Congress to consider a federal law protecting same-sex marriage rights.

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James Brooks
James Brooks

James Brooks is a longtime Alaska reporter, having previously worked at the Anchorage Daily News, Juneau Empire, Kodiak Mirror and Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. A graduate of Virginia Tech, he is married to Caitlyn Ellis, owns a house in Juneau and has a small sled dog named Barley. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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