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Should Public Officials and Business Owners Be Forced to Provide Gay Wedding Services?

Photo Credit: AP

Slightly more Americans support gay marriage than oppose it, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll, though that same survey found that people are also more likely to support allowing wedding-related businesses to deny services to gay couples on religious grounds.

While 44 percent of respondents had no problem with legalizing gay unions in their states, 39 percent opposed such a measure, with 15 percent claiming that they have no opinion on the matter.

But as for the related hot topic of government officials and religious business owners having the right to decline services to gays and lesbians, the public offered some caveats, according to the Associated Press.

Fifty percent of respondents said that state and local officials and judges who issue marriage licenses in places where gay unions are legal should be exempt from doing so if they have a religious objection; 46 percent said that they should not be exempt.

Plastic figurines of two females displayed on a table, at the Gay marriage fair,  in Paris,  Saturday, April  27, 2013. Lesbian and gay cake toppers, his-and-his wedding bands, flower-themed tuxedo bow ties: Marketing whizzes have held France's first gay-marriage fair   four days after parliament legalized same-sex wedlock. Wedding planners, photographers and high-end tailors pitched their services at the Paris fair Saturday. Police stood guard outside   a precautionary measure after recent bouts of anti-gay violence by foes of same-sex marriage. The legislation sparked huge protests across France. Credit: AP AP

There was even more support for business owners who provide wedding products and services being able to refuse service to gay weddings, with 57 percent favoring this right and 39 percent rejecting it.

The AP-GfK Poll was conducted from January 29-February 2 among 1,045 U.S. adults, with a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

TheBlaze has extensively covered the debate over exemptions for public officials and business owners. From bakers being investigated for refusing to make cakes with messages opposed to homosexuality to bakers declining gay wedding confectionaries, there have been a series of highly publicized debates of late over the contentious issue.

There are also other incidents that are similar, but do not involve wedding services, including the recent case of a Christian printer who was punished after declining services to a gay pride organization.

On the public official front, some counties in Florida have decided to simply stop performing all weddings in an attempt to circumvent requirements that same-sex unions be performed, while clerks in other states have quit their positions.

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