Study: Over One-third of Population Unaware of FMA's Existence

( [email protected] ) Jun 25, 2004 12:47 PM EDT

More than one-third of all adults don’t even know about the constitutional marriage amendment, according to a newly released nationwide survey conducted by The Barna Group based in Ventura, California. The study also suggested that although many adults favor a traditional marriage, decisions regarding a homosexual marriage should be left up to individuals due to the lack of conviction of absolute morality.

Conducted during the last week of May, the survey of 1618 adults revealed that 37% of voting-age citizens have never heard of the amendment, reported Barna.

The constitutional marriage amendment is also known as the Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA).

Over half of non-whites respondents and over half of adults not registered to vote were not aware of the proposed constitutional amendment. 45% of individuals aligned with a non-Christian faith were likely to be unfamiliar with amendment. Other people groups that were not in touch with the issue included women (40% unaware), adults under the age of 40 (41%), parents of children under 18 (42%), and residents of the South (42%).

People groups that were most likely to be aware of the amendment were gay and lesbian adults (94% aware). 89 % of evangelicals knew the marriage amendment existed. Other segments of the population, which exhibited high awareness percentage, included Republicans (77%), conservatives (77%), people likely to vote in the November election (76%), college graduates (75%), and residents of California (75%).

Barna also reported the divisions on the constitutional marriage amendment among the 37% who were previously unaware of the amendment. 37% supported such a change in the constitution after hearing a description of the amendment while 45% opposed it. 18% were undecided.

Small niches in the population also had the loudest voices, according to the survey. Although an alleged 4% of the adult population represents homosexuals, 78% oppose the FMA. Christian evangelicals represent 7% of the population but have over 80% of whom strongly favor the amendment.

Many of born-again Christians are not convinced to have marriage defined by law.

“Evangelicals are strongly supportive of the marriage amendment, but only about half of the larger group of born again Christians – those who are not evangelical – strongly favor such an amendment,” concluded George Barna who directed the study.

“Atheists and agnostics, who reject the Bible as truth,” continued the researcher, “contend that there is no moral legitimacy to defining marriage as the amendment would do. The remaining half of the population – comprised of notional Christians and people associated with non-Christian faiths – lean toward letting people make their own choices, without any legal limitations or parameters.”

Mr. Barna noted in the study that although many adults and Christians believe marriage should be between one man and one woman, “they contend that moral and lifestyle choices such as homosexual marriage should be left in the hands of each individual.”

“This is classic relativism,” explained Mr. Barna, “a philosophy that has taken the nation by storm in the last quarter century and is now restructuring every aspect of American society.”

“The consequence is that many people are personally opposed to such behavior but feel compelled to allow that behavior to take place legally because they also contend that there are no moral absolutes,” he said.