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New poll shows California Catholics increasingly support gay marriage

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Results of a Field Poll released Wednesday show growing support for gay marriage among registered California voters, including Catholics. Fifty-nine percent of those polled favor same-sex unions, the greatest support in the 35 years the Field Poll has been tracking the issue. Catholics showed 51 percent support in the new poll, up four percentage points from the 2010 poll.

Protestants polled showed 45 percent support, an 11 percentage point gain, while 49 percent remained opposed. Eighty percent of voters with no religious preference said they support gay marriage.

Among white voters polled, there was 64 percent support, while 53 percent of Hispanic voters and 50 percent of African-American and Asian-America voters said they support same-sex marriage.

The strongest support in the poll (69 percent) comes from voters 18 to 39 years old. Among voters 40 to 64 years old, there is 59 percent support, and 45 percent support among those over 65.

Both supporters and opponents of gay marriage say poll results of registered voters don't necessarily translate into actual votes. In 2008, when 52 percent of voters approved a ban on same-sex marriage (Proposition 8), the Field Poll had shown 51 percent support of gay marriage.

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Last month in San Francisco, a federal appeals court ruled Proposition 8 unconstitutional, upholding a federal judge's earlier ruling. Further appeals are expected.

The Field Poll was conducted Feb. 2-18 and has a 4.5 percent margin of error. Full results can be seen here.

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