A new poll from Brown University's Taubman Center for Public Policy shows strong support for same-sex marriage in Rhode Island, with 60 percent of respondents backing gay nuptials and 31 percent opposed. An even larger majority, 75 percent, would back a civil unions bill.
The results come after a burst of activity on the gay marriage front. Same-sex marriage bills have been signed into law in Maine and Vermont in recent weeks. And there is significant movement in New Hampshire, New York and New Jersey.
Rhode Island is the only state in new England that does not recognize same-sex partnerships in some fashion. But Smith Hill insiders say the bill is stalled amid opposition from the Democratic leadership of the House and Senate and Republican Governor Donald L. Carcieri.
The Brown poll suggests that events of recent months have spiked local support for gay marriage. A February poll from Marriage Equality Rhode Island, the leading pro-gay marriage group, had 49 percent in favor of gay marriage and 37 percent opposed. The shift could put pressure on Smith Hill to move.
More on the poll, which also showed strong local support for President Obama, later.