Texans Opinions On Gays Surveyed
Many Find Behavior Immoral, But Also Say Discrimination Is Problem
Austin American Statesman,
May 10, 1999
Box 670, Austin, TX 78767
By Juan B. Elizondo Jr., American-Statesman Staff
More than two-thirds of Texans believe that homosexual behavior is immoral, but more
than half also say discrimination against gays and lesbians is a serious problem in the
state, according to the latest Texas Poll.
It was the first time the poll had asked about homosexuality, so there are no data to
make historical comparisons.
However, state Rep. Glen Maxey, the states only openly gay lawmaker, said the
results follow those of every other survey he has seen on gay rights and other issues
related to homosexuality.
"There are people with strong religious values that have opinions whether
homosexuality is right or not," said Maxey, D-Austin. "But people are
fair-minded: Even though I disagree with a persons consensual behavior, they
shouldnt lose their job or be discriminated against. I think people are
rational, and they are fair."
The poll results, released today, were based on a telephone survey of 1,003 adult
Texans between March 30 and April 17. The margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage
points, meaning the results can vary that much in either direction.
The results show 68 percent of Texans believe homosexuality is immoral, while 55
percent believe discrimination against homosexuals is a problem.
The poll also found that 60 percent of adult Texans believe the state should not
recognize same-sex marriages and that 54 percent favor a law to prohibit gays and lesbians
from acting as adoptive or foster parents for children in state custody.
Proposals to prevent the recognition of gay marriages and to prevent gays from being
adoptive or foster parents are pending in the House, but time is running out. The session
ends May 31.
Dianne Hardy-Garcia, executive director of the Texas Lesbian/Gay Rights Lobby, said
responses in the poll are likely based on strongly held personal and religious beliefs.
She said even though those opinions are discouraging, shes happy that a majority of
people find discrimination against gays and lesbians to be a problem.
"What Im concerned about is the ability to protect my family," she
said. "Theres a growing sense that discrimination and violence against gays and
lesbians is a problem."
In another question, Texans were deadlocked over whether consensual gay sex between
adults should be legal. To that question, 41 percent said it should be legal; 41 percent
said it should be illegal; and 19 percent didnt respond or said they didnt
know. The numbers dont add up to 100 percent because of rounding.
[Home] [News] [Texas]