Rick Perry Needs a Refresher on How Texas Feels About Marriage

| Wed Mar. 27, 2013 11:29 AM EDT

Marriage equality is ascendant, you may have heard. But Gov. Rick Perry (R-Texas), for one, believes the question of who can and cannot marry is a settled issue in his state. "In Texas, it is fairly clear about where this state stands on that issue," Perry told the Dallas Morning News on Tuesday. "As recently as a constitutional amendment that passed—I believe, with 76 percent of the vote. The people of the state of Texas, myself included, believe marriage is between one man and one woman."

But Perry is, like many opponents of same-sex marriage, relying on some fairly dusty data sets. The constitutional amendment he's referring to passed in 2005 (it's 2013 now) and it banned same-sex civil unions in addition to same-sex marriages. Texans were really opposed to marriage equality then. James Henson and Joshua Blank of the Texas Politics Project have been paying a bit more attention to the numbers recently, though, and noticed a trend:

When we went back to examine the trend lines in the polls that included the gay marriage item, it became evident that overall opposition to same sex-marriage has been on a slow and steady decline, with some internal patterns of change among particular age, gender and partisan subgroups, including young people and suburbanites.

Perry would do well to consult this handy chart, from the TPP:

Texas Politics Project

Gay marriage is trending up, opposition to any legal recognition has trended down. Texas probably isn't going to go the way of Maryland and Washington anytime soon, but legal recognition of same-sex unions—which is prohibited under the 2005 constitutional amendment—is now the preference of six in ten Texans. And a majority of young Republicans now support full marriage equality, suggesting that this trend is only going to continue, even if Texas doesn't start turning purple. Oops.

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