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MOST UTAHNS OPPOSE GAY MARRIAGE, ADOPTION

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A new Deseret News/KSL poll says Utahns by more than a 2-1 margin are against same-sex marriages and adoption of children by gay couples. But a plurality approves of gays in the military, at least under some conditions.

The poll comes on the heels of news reports that President Clinton will announce a compromise plan this week that would allow gays to serve in the military only if they keep quiet about their sexual orientation.Sixty-eight percent of those polled last month by Dan Jones & Associates said they oppose marriage between people of the same sex; 72 percent were against adoption by homosexual couples. About one-fourth of those polled support both same-sex marriage and adoption by gay couples.

Thirty-one percent expressed unqualified disapproval of allowing homosexuals to be part of the military. But 20 percent said they should be allowed to serve, no strings attached, and 45 percent said they approve of gays in the military under the "don't ask, don't tell," policy. That arrangement would prevent homosexuals from openly discussing their sexuality and ban superiors from asking about sexual preference.

Republicans were more likely than Democrats to oppose gay rights, and "very active" members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were more likely than others to be opposed.

Eighty-five percent of those who said they were Republican, for instance, were against gay marriage, compared with 53 percent of Democrats. Eighty-seven percent of "very active" Latter-day Saints were opposed, while 62 percent of Catholics, 58 percent of Protestants and 46 percent associated with other religions oppose gay marriage.

Greatest opposition to gay marriage was among the least educated. Sixty-two percent of those with less than a high-school education disapprove of such a lifestyle, compared with 56 percent of college graduates.

Support for homosexual rights was strongest among the young, those 18 to 30 years old, though a majority of that group was opposed. Thirty-eight percent said they support marriage rights for gays, 32 percent said they approve of adoption by gay couples.

Dale Sorenson, executive director of Gay and Lesbian Utah Democrats, said the poll results "show that what's right is not always popular. Harry Truman encountered the same sort of resistance when he lifted the ban on blacks in the military . . . Politicians don't merely sit on the sidelines. National leaders have the opportunity to influence public opinion.

"No doubt those numbers would be different if the president had been decisive on this issue. It's unfortunate that Clinton has caved in to what's easy and popular," Sorenson said.