A gay marriage poll released by the L.A. Times reveals that a yawning racial chasm exists over the issue. Pollsters found that a substantial majority in a sampling of 1,500 registered voters in Los Angeles — 56 percent — favored legalizing same-sex marriage, while only 37 percent opposed it. However, after parsing the demographics, vivid ethnic demarcations emerge. (See L.A. Weekly reporter Patrick Range McDonald's extensive coverage of the growing outreach by pro-gay-marriage advocates into both the ethnic and agrarian communities of California.)

Caucasian voters favor legalization by a huge 68 percent margin, with 27 percent opposing it. The breakdown among African Americans is substantially, if not quite completely, reversed: 54 percent oppose gay marriage, with 37 percent supporting it. (Conflicting points of views in the local African American community have been glimpsed on the L.A. Sentinel's opinion page, with lesbian commentator Jasmyne A. Cannick for gay marriage and conservative columnist Firpo Carr condemning it.)

Meanwhile, the Times reports that Latinos are evenly split, with 45 percent supporting and 46 opposing same-sex weddings. It is the swing Latino electorate that advocates on both sides will seek to win over in an anticipated 2010 ballot rematch of Proposition 8.

Today's Times blog announcement of the poll results did not mention if Asian

American voters were questioned — a more complete account of the poll,

which included other political topics, will be published in the paper's

Sunday edition.

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