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Poll Shows Conservative South Dakota Likely To Reject Anti-Gay Amendment

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Poll Shows Conservative South Dakota Likely To Reject Anti-Gay Amendment

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

August 10, 2006 - 3:00 pm ET

(Sioux Falls, South Dakota) A survey of 800 South Dakota voters shows that a proposed amendment to the state constitution banning same-sex marriage, civil unions and domestic partnerships would likely fail.

The poll shows that 49 percent of voters oppose the amendment with 41 percent supporting it and the rest undecided.

The results startled even LGBT rights groups which noted the state supported President Bush in 2004 by a margin of 60 percent to 40.

The marriage measure, called Amendment C, is scheduled to appear on the ballot this November.

The Mason-Dixon poll was taken for the Argus Leader newspaper and KELO television.

The sticking point for most South Dakotans appears to be the inclusion of the phrase quasi-marital relationships, which affect all non married couples - straight or gay.

“South Dakotans are reading the second sentence of Amendment C and aren’t fooled by misleading talk about ‘gay marriage,’ which is already illegal in South Dakota," said Against Discrimination campaign manager Jon Hoadley.

"When voters find out Amendment C could take away domestic violence protection for unmarried women and discourage business investment by creating a legal nightmare with the term ‘domestic partnership,’ people are voting no,” said Hoadley said.

Against Discrimination is made up of a number of LGBT rights groups.

National Stonewall Democrats has made the ballot measure in South Dakota an electoral priority in 2006.

"South Dakota is a success story no matter what the outcome on the ballot question is this November," said NSD spokesperson John Marble.

"If the LGBT community really wants to secure future progress for all Americans, then we need to be investing in rural communities like South Dakota, which has never had a statewide LGBT political infrastructure prior to this year."

Lambda Legal suggests the poll indicates a growing change in American attitudes toward same-sex couples.

"As more people get to know their gay and lesbian coworkers, neighbors, family members and friends, they are seeing the fundamental unfairness of such amendments," said Jim Bennett, Regional Director of Lambda Legal's Midwest Regional Office in Chicago.

"More people are beginning to understand that these amendments do not protect anyone but clearly harm many."

Hoadley agrees.

“When we knock on doors we’re finding that good neighbors don’t discriminate," he said. "If you actually talk to people about how Amendment C could affect the ability to make medical decisions for a loved one, people are going to vote no.”

©365Gay.com 2006

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