Reports & Research

Same-sex marriage initiatives and lesbian, gay and bisexual voters in the 2006 elections

Report Type: 
December 19, 2006

Proposed bans on same-sex marriage fared more poorly in the November 2006 elections than in the past.

This analysis of election returns and data from the National Election Pool exit poll finds that:

  • If current trends hold, marriage bans would fail — or just barely pass — in many of the states that have yet to hold such referenda.
  • The presence of marriage bans on the ballot in 2006 did not help Republican Senate candidates.
  • As in previous elections, lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) voters exhibited distinctive voting behavior. They continued to vote overwhelmingly (75 percent) for Democratic candidates and took liberal positions on the major issues of the day. Only Jewish voters (87 percent) and black voters (89 percent) voted for Democrats at higher rates than LGB voters.

Support for same-sex marriage bans has fallen especially dramatically in states where people identifying themselves as born-again or evangelical Christians make up an identifiable minority of residents.

This study was written by Patrick Egan of Princeton University and Kenneth Sherrill of Hunter College.