In 2006, Alabama voters approved a Constitutional amendment to define marriage as being only between a man and a woman. Chief Justice Roy Moore recently pointed to that vote when defending his stance against a federal order to legalize same-sex marriage, saying Alabamians “haven’t changed their opinion” when it came to same-sex unions.
Is that true, however? Politifact recently weighed those statements against recent polling to try and determine if the views of Alabamians have changed considerably since 2006. That was difficult to do, mainly due to a lack of recent and comprehensive polling in the state but it is worth looking at some of the trends.
In 2006, 81 percent of Alabamians voted for the marriage amendment. In 2012, Politifact points out, Capital Survey Research Center found 71 percent of people opposed same-sex marriage.
That’s a 10 point differential in those who voted for the amendment and those who said they oppose same-sex marriage. You can compare that to national polls that showed opposition to gay marriage fell from 55 percent to 46 percent from 2006 to 2012.
That gives Alabama a 10 point drop in opposition, compared to a 9 point decline nationally. That’s not a perfect comparison, as some people may oppose same-sex marriage but didn’t think Alabama’s already-bloated constitution needed another amendment. And, Alabama started with some of the lowest approval numbers for same-sex marriage in the country.
Politifact looks at other surveys, too. In 2005, another Capital Survey Research Center showed 87 percent of voters said they supported only traditional marriage while a poll by an Alabama television station in 2015 showed 70 percent oppose gay marriage.
By the way, an earlier unscientific poll by AL.com surprisingly showed 77 percent of voters said gay marriage was a right guaranteed under the constitution. Eighteen percent said marriage should only be between a man and a woman and 4 percent were undecided.
Politifact ruling on Roy Moore
Politifact said an overwhelming number of people still oppose same-sex marriage in Alabama. However, “polling data suggests measurable movement on this issue.
“In 2006, 81 percent of voters supported the referendum to prohibit gay marriage in Alabama. Recent polls show about 71 percent of likely voters oppose same-sex marriage today. That’s in line with other data that show growing support for same-sex marriage in the last decade there, and is similar to the rate of decline in opposition nationally.”
The website gives Moore’s assertion a “half true,” adding “the statement is partially accurate but leaves out important detail.”