Poll: Gay Attack Likely Anywhere

.c The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Following the murder of a gay college student in Wyoming, most Americans believe the same kind of attack could happen in their communities, according to a poll released Saturday.

The Time/CNN poll found that three-quarters of the 1,036 adults questioned think the problem of violence against homosexuals is serious across the country.

Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old University of Wyoming student, died Monday, five days after he was pistol-whipped, robbed and tied to a fence on the Wyoming prairie in near-freezing temperatures.

Authorities said he had been lured out of a bar in Laramie by two 21-year-old men, who have been charged with murder. Police have said robbery was a top motive but Shepard also was singled out because he was homosexual.

According to the survey conducted by telephone on Tuesday and Wednesday, 68 percent of those polled say a similar attack could happen in their community.

Thirty-nine percent think anti-gay violence is a very serious problem, and 36 percent say it's serious. The others don't consider it serious or aren't sure.

While 48 percent say homosexuality is morally wrong, 82 percent believe the government should treat homosexuals and heterosexuals as equals.

Fifty-one percent say homosexuals could change their sexual orientation if they chose to. Thirty-six percent don't think that's possible, while the rest are unsure.

The poll's margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

AP-NY-10-17-98 1404EDT

Copyright 1998 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. All active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.


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