COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN) -- The supporters of overturning Ohio's 2004 ban on same-sex marriage say the more Ohioans learn about their effort, the more they support it.
When asked about gay marriage, 48 percent of Ohioans polled said they opposed it while 47 percent supported it and 5 percent were undecided. However, when pollsters told opponents that the proposed amendment allows houses of worship to refuse to marry same-sex couples support jumped to 56 percent with 34 percent opposed and 10 percent undecided.
"People of faith want to make sure that they have the right to say 'no' but they also want to give loving-couples the right to say 'I do' at the courthouse," said Freedom to Marry Ohio's Ian James.
The amendment gets support from 76 percent of Democrats and 34 percent of Republicans. Independent voters oppose it by a 47-40 margin.
James claims they already have the signatures needed to get the issue on the ballot, but he wants to wait until July with the goal of gathering more than a million signatures. That would put it on the ballot in November. It's the same election that involves statewide elected officials, including the race for governor.
The campaign won't be cheap. James expects the price tag to be millions of dollars, but he isn't sure exactly how much. He feels they have a much better shot at raising the support needed than opponents would.
"It's not about spending wildly, it's about making sure that you're spending and connecting with the right people," he said.
James also points out that the current poll numbers show a higher level of support in Ohio 11 months ahead of election day than there was in the three states that approved same-sex marriage last year.
The poll was conducted by Public Policy Polling which contacted 1,011 voters between Dec. 6 - 8.
Opponents of same sex marriage in Ohio say while times may have changed, values haven't.
"They have the money and we have the grassroots," said Phil Burress with Citizens for Community Values and leader of the effort to ban same-sex marriage in Ohio back in 2004.
He says the polling from Freedom to Marry Ohio is "full of holes." While he thinks the gap has narrowed since the 2004 ban passed with 62 percent of the vote, Burress believes Ohioans aren't going to overturn it.
"There's only five or six percent of the people that are undecided on this issue. There will be some people that will change their mind because they don't totally understand the impact that this is going to have," Burress said.
Burress claims that if approved, children in public schools will start to be taught that same-sex marriage is okay. He says that's what happened in Massachusetts.
"They're going to be putting up ads telling everybody how warm and fuzzy same-sex marriage is, but they will not be telling the whole truth about how this will impact children," said Burress.
He also believes that while supporters claim churches won't be forced to perform gay marriages, they would still be subject to lawsuits if they refused to allow their facilities to be used for the ceremonies.
"This is not about conservatives or liberals it's about the institution of marriage which is the oldest institution on the face of the Earth and needs to be protected," he said.
(Photo courtesy Getty Images)
Click here for the detailed poll results