CNN Poll: Majority Support Same-Sex Marriage; DOMA Defense to Cost American Taxpayers $500K, Possibly More

Another poll, this one from CNN, shows a majority of Americans support same-sex marriage:

Clement Of those surveyed for a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Tuesday, 51 percent said they think marriages between lesbian and gay couples should be recognized as legal and come with the same rights as heterosexual unions, while 47 percent said the marriages should not be recognized.

The last time CNN asked the question, in April 2009, approval for gay marriage was at 44 percent and disapproval was at 54 percent. Two polls released in mid-March also found support for gay marriage in the low in 50s.

Yesterday, House Speaker John Boehner announced that former Bush Solicitor General Paul Clement had been hired to lead the House GOP's case defending DOMA. Jeffrey Buchholtz and Nicholas Nelson are the other King & Spalding attorneys on the case.

Today it was revealed that Clement's firm would be charging the American taxpayer $520 an hour to defend this discriminatory law:

2. The General Counsel agrees to pay Contractor for all contractual services a sum not to exceed $500,000.00. … Furthermore, it is understood and agreed that should the $500,000 cap be reached before the Litigation is complete, and if the cap has not then been raised by written agreement…contractor shall not be obligated to continue providing legal services under this Agreement.

3. The General Counsel agress to pay Contractor at a blended rate of $520.00 per hour for all reasonable attorney time expended in connection with the Litigation, and at 75 percent of the Contractor’s usual and customary rates for all reasonable non-attorney time…and to reimburse Contractor for all reasonable expenses incurred by the Contractor in connection with the Litigation[.]



  1. Trad says

    I think it’s important to note that the poll by CNN does not include a sample from the 18-34 age group. The 51% approval rating is not really a true gage to what the majority of Americans may think.

  2. Francis says

    Based on all of the latest polls done on this subject, marriage equality support will probably approach the upper 50s within the next year or two. But, this isn’t the issue here. The issue is that for starters, our #1 support group, teen-30 years old, don’t vote in elections at a big rate. Secondly, rural areas/conservative backwaters are still largely anti-gay. So for us to really make a dent in any potential ballot box votes on our equality (horrible to think about–ugh), we need to make sure our main support group actually votes and we can make up the deficit in the rural areas by winning huge in the bigger cities of some of these states.

    Also, thousands upon thousands of dollars spent for bigotry. Un-American at it’s core.

  3. Ted says


    I thought you must be mistaken, but looking at the pdf of the full poll shows that the response from 18-34 is listed as N/A. I don’t see how they can do a poll that excludes such a vast swath of the electorate. Excluding them would dramatically skew the results.

    However, it ultimately doesn’t matter b/c there is no way that these polls showing support for SSM in the low 50s can be accurate. For the national average to be in the low 50s, we would need to see very solid support – in the high 50s to mid 60s – in blue states such as CA, MD, ME, and WA. You would need this in order to offset the very low levels of support in the red states.

    But CA was at 48% as of 11/08; ME was at 47% as of 11/09; WA was at 53% on civil unions as of 11/09, which likely means it was at 43% on SSM as of that time. MD is somewhere b/t 48 and 51 percent. Even allowing that these numbers have moved somewhat in our direction, it would not be nearly enough to yield a 51 percent national average.

    As far as I know, the only state-level poll showing the requisite levels of support came from NH, and that was just one poll. MA is probably there, and NY is getting there. But overall, I don’t see how you can get to 51 percent nationally right now.

  4. Charlie says

    These poll numbers are screwy. As someone noted there are not number listed for 18-34. What does that mean? Did they not poll any of these people or did they just not do enough polling to get a statisticslly valid number?

    Also, the breakdown by regions shows all of the country being more opposed that supporting. This cannot be true or the number for the whole country would be also below.

    I think this law firm should be requested to do the work pro bono. Either that or the Republican party should foot the bill. They are doing this for political reasons, to appease their base. So they should pay.

  5. Buster says

    The $500,000 number is completely bogus.

    At $520 per hour (and a “blended” rate, at that, which means ALL the attorneys are billed at this rate, senior partners and fresh our of law school associates) $500,000 represents fewer than 1000 hours of work, which I can assure you is a lot fewer than the total number of attorney hours the firm will spend on this. Plus, it doesn’t include expenses (photocopying, online legal research, meals, taxis, messengers, phone calls, travel, etc etc etc etc etc) which can easily add 25% or more to the bill.

  6. Go Galt. Please. says

    The 18-34 count was N/A because they couldn’t find any with a land line telephone. The first qualifier on the data should have been “Of those who still have their home phone connected…”

  7. CJ says

    (Danny Thomas Spit Take) UMMMMMM Yeah, Hello!? I just got done sitting on a murder trial here in Boston where the judge told us today that the trial cost over a million. I think we can all say the $500k is a pretty low hangy saggy balls figure.

  8. walter says

    how can the repoks keep screaming cut spending then turn around and waste this kind of money on stupid crap like this. what makes the repuks the morality police. lcr and goproud like your all inclusive loving repuks.

  9. andnowwhat says

    * Ms. Edie Windsor charged $363k estate tax
    * blended $525/hr attorney fees

    $363000 / $520/hr = 698 attorney work hours

    698 awh / 8 work hours/day = 88 days.

    boehner is willing to exchange <3 months of attorney’s fees for what is owed this elderly widow in estate taxes on a marriage that lasted more than forty years.

  10. NY2.0 says

    The defense of DOMA is just another attempt by the Republicans to swindle tax money to enrich their friends while demonizing another segment of the population. They kill two birds with one stone.

  11. Kas says

    Hey! I have a land line and I am in the 18 to 34 age group. I even have the number written down somewhere.

    Don’t look at me like that! My internet service was cheaper if I also purchased a land line.

  12. wyocwboy62 says

    It doesn’t matter in my opinion if the American support marriage or not but the fact that the GOP has stated several times they are for saving money…not spending and this is going to make American citizens pay not them. The GOP is not for the American people.

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