By a 20 percentage point margin – 55 to 35 percent – Virginia adults think it should be legal for gay and lesbian couples to adopt a child in the state. But they are much more closely divided on the question of gay marriage, splitting 47 to 43 percent in a new Washington Post poll.
There’s plenty of overlap on these two issues; 42 percent think both gay marriage and gay adoption should be legal and 30 percent consistently say both should be illegal. But 10 percent of all adults in the state say gay adoption is okay but gay marriage is not. Fewer, just 3 percent, say gay adopting should be illegal but gay marriage legal and another 15 percent are unsure on one or the other, or both.
These one in 10 Virginians who approve of gay adoption but not gay marriage are more likely than others to be Republican and conservative.. The mismatch in these two positions is wider for some groups than others. Middle aged Virginia residents – 40 to 64 years old – are 13 points more apt to accept gay adoption than gay marriage. Republicans and conservatives are 11 and 12 points more apt to say gay adoption should be legal.
Differences by religious preference are sharp. Only 20 percent of white Protestants in the state think gay marriage should be legal, but 34 percent think gay adoption should be legal. There’s a similar sized gap among white Catholics: 51 percent say gay marriage should be legal while 65 percent support gay adoption. There’s no difference for secular Virginians, with about eight in 10 saying each should be legal.