In 2008, 57.7% of Orange County voters supported Proposition 8, the law banning gay marriage.
The authors of the survey seem perplexed. Say the pollsters:
This is a historic shift in public opinion when one recalls that in 1978, Orange County was the home of Proposition 6, sponsored by Orange County legislator John Briggs, which would have banned gays and lesbians from teaching in California's public schools–a fight that was featured in the film “Milk.” In 1992, President Bill Clinton was heavily criticized for his decision to allow gays to openly serve in the military. Many of his strongest critics were from Orange County.
We called Irvine gay-rights activist Laura Kanter–-who made headlines by being part of the group who interrupted President Obama's speech last month to advocate for a repeal of Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell–for her opinion about what the results mean. While initially skeptical of the poll, she said she was “not that surprised, but a little surprised” by the apparent rise in support for gay rights in OC. As we documented in a feature last year, Proposition 8's passaged galvanized many same-sex-marriage supporters into activism.