A majority of Idahoans say county clerks should be required to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, even if their personal views oppose gay marriage, a new Idaho Politics Weekly poll shows.
And pollster Dan Jones & Associates finds in the same survey that most Idahoans believe a federal judge was correct in jailing Kim Davis, a Kentucky county clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples in violation of his court order that she do so.
Same-sex marriage was banned by law in Idaho until a federal judge ruled it unconstitutional. Then the U.S. Supreme Court last June ruled same-sex marriage legal in all of the United States.
Jones found that 56 percent of Idahoans “definitely” or “probably” agree that county clerks should be required to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples regardless of the clerk’s personal views on the matter.
Forty percent said clerks shouldn’t have to violate their beliefs in such cases, and 4 percent didn’t know.
On the particular issue of Davis – who, by the way, is three times married and had a child out of wedlock – 58 percent of Idahoans said a federal judge rightly jailed her for refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses.
Thirty-eight percent said Davis should not have been jailed, and 5 percent didn’t know.
Here is some national polling on the Davis controversy. (The judge released Davis on contempt of court violations after several days when she agreed to allow others in her office to issue same-sex couples marriage licenses.)
Idaho Republicans go against the view of the state’s majorities on these two questions, however.
Jones finds that 40 percent of Idaho Republicans say county clerks should be forced to issue marriage licenses to gay couples; 54 percent said they should not be compelled to do so, and 5 percent of Republicans didn’t know.
On the Davis issue, 45 percent of Republicans agreed she should have been jailed for contempt; half said she shouldn’t have been; and 5 percent didn’t know.
Democrats and independents are on the other side of both questions:
-- 83 percent of Democrats said Davis should have been jailed; only 12 percent said she shouldn’t have been; and 5 percent didn’t know.
-- 81 percent of Democrats said clerks should be required to issue licenses to gay couples; 17 percent said they shouldn’t; and only 1 percent didn’t know.
-- 64 percent of political independents said Davis should have gone to the slammer; 31 percent said the judge should not have jailed her on contempt charges; 5 percent didn’t know.
-- And 65 percent of independents said clerks should be required to issue gays marriage licenses; 32 percent said they shouldn’t and 4 percent didn’t know.
Idaho has a large LDS population – and their church’s official stand is against gay marriage.
Jones finds that among Mormons, 44 percent said county clerks should be required to issue marriage licenses to gay couples; 51 percent said they shouldn’t; and 5 percent of Mormons didn’t know.
On the question of Davis: 49 percent of Mormons said the judge should have jailed her; 45 percent said he shouldn’t have, and 6 percent didn’t know.
Jones polled 586 Idahoans from Sept. 22-30; the survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.05 percent.