Washington Post-ABC News Poll: Majority of Americans Support Marriage Equality

A new poll from the Washington Post and ABC News shows, for the first time, a majority supporting same-sex marriage:

Prop8 Five years ago, at 36 percent, support for gay marriage barely topped a third of all Americans. Now, 53 percent say gay marriage should be legal, marking the first time in Post-ABC polling that a majority has said so.

“This is very consistent with a lot of other polling data we’ve seen and the general momentum we’ve seen over the past year and a half,” said Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, a leading pro-gay-marriage group. “As people have come to understand this is about loving, committed families dealing, like everyone, with tough times, they understand how unfair it is to treat them differently.”

Opponents of same-sex marriage took issue with the poll, which asks respondents: “Do you think it should be legal or illegal for gay and lesbian couples to get married?” Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, argued that the term “illegal” could be inferred to mean that violators could be imprisoned, which most Americans would consider harsh.

The WaPo notes several demographic shifts:

Men, who previously were less supportive of same-sex marriage than women, now back it at the same rate. Support among college-educated whites, political independents and people who do not consider themselves religious also rose substantially.

Republicans, conservatives and white evangelical Christians remain the groups most opposed to legalizing gay marriage.

The survey also shows a shift in how intensely people feel on this issue. In the past, the number of Americans who felt strongly that gay marriage should be banned far outnumbered those who were passionate in their belief that it should be legal. That has balanced out, with 35 percent strongly against legal gay marriage and 36 percent strongly in favor.

Slim majority back gay marriage, Post-ABC poll says [washington post]