Statewide poll measures Missouris sentiments on same-sex marriage

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COLUMBIA - A new statewide study was released this week and reveals many respondents oppose same sex marriage.

The study, commissioned by the Missouri Alliance for Freedom, found  71 percent of those polled believe that marriage should just be between a man and a woman, while 25 percent disagreed and 4 percent were unsure.

Around 800 Missourians were polled just two days after the historic decision by the Supreme Court, which made same-sex marriage legal nationwide.

One question asked, "Do you believe that the Supreme Court of the United States should be able to redefine marriage?"

53 percent said no and 32 percent said yes.

Molly Hous Gordon, the minister at Unitarian Universalist church in Columbia, said much of her congregation supports same-sex marriage.

"We believe that love is between any two people that love each other and that those relationships should be blessed equally, no matter whether couples are same-sex or opposite sex," Gordon said.

Gordon said her church is celebrating the national ruling by officiating same-sex marriages free of charge.

One of the survey questions focused on whether private businesses should be able to deny services for same-sex weddings. 65 percent said the court should not intervene in those decisions.

The Missouri Alliance for Freedom said, "For us, this is a liberty issue. Will small business people and clergy be targeted" and compelled to "violate their consciences."

When asked if private businesses should be forced to service same-sex weddings, Gordon said, while her church is embraces members of the LGBT community, it also respects others' beliefs. 

While the poll respondents were mostly against same-sex marriage, Gordon said she thinks society is changing.

"I think we have seen a public opinion shift towards more equality for more folks, and we celebrate that shift," Gordon said. "When we know and love people, we support their beliefs, we support their relationships and that makes all of us stronger."

The Missouri Alliance for Freedom said the poll shows, "It is clear that Missourians have not dramatically changed since they overwhelming approved an amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman.