Nationwide Support for Marriage Equality Hits All-Time High of 59 Percent in New Poll


A new poll shows support for marriage equality nationwide has hit an all-time high, the Washington Post reports:

Half of all Americans believe that gay men and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll in which a large majority also said businesses should not be able to deny serving gays for religious reasons.

Fifty percent say the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of equal protection gives gays the right to marry, while 41 percent say it does not.

Beyond the constitutional questions, a record-high 59 percent say they support same-sex marriage, while 34 percent are opposed, the widest margin tracked in Post-ABC polling.

The poll was conducted in the wake of a series of rulings by federal judges that state bans on same-sex marriage and prohibitions on recognizing marriages performed elsewhere are unconstitutional.

The poll also shows that by Americans oppose bills like the one in Arizona that would allow discrimination against gays based on religious beliefs. And their is strong support for gay adoption.

More here.


  1. Tigernan says

    Can we pull this out every time one of “them” starts spouting off that the American people have spoken? They appear to still be speaking.

  2. Francis says

    I think this is awesome, but at the same time…what exactly is the real number? CBS/NYT had it at 56% last week. WashPost/ABC has it at 59%, and last year they had it at 58%. Public Religion poll had it at 53%. Quinnipiac also has it at 53%.

    In any case, it’s great to see progress.

  3. Paul R says

    @Frances: those variations are typical margins of error for a random statistical sample, especially if the sample isn’t particularly large. Most surveys of this type cover about 1,000 people and have margins of error of +/- 3 percentage points. So, if the correct answer is 56%, all the surveys you cite fall within that range.

    I think this survey actually indicates stronger progress than reported, given that in 2011 they changed the question from (paraphrasing), “Do you think marriage equality should be legal or illegal?” to “Do you support or oppose marriage equality?” Voicing support for something strikes me as being considerably more positive than merely saying it should be legal. In an ostensibly free society, there are many things that I agree should be legal but don’t necessarily support.

    I’d like to see some research explaining this dramatic shift in public views on such a weighted subject in such a short period. Are people merely recognizing the inevitable, which suggests that the actions of (mainly) courts have caused them to change their views? If so, that says a lot about the role of courts in our society.

  4. Zlick says

    I’m really tired of the Young People Are the Future canard. Young people of the 1960’s were the future, but did any of that idealism ever change the present when all those kids became adults? Not nearly enough. The problem with young people is that they become old.

    That said, I’m very encouraged by the social values of today’s young people. But I lived through the ’60’s, so pardon me for not believing widespread idealism among the young will translate into Utopia.

  5. emjayay says

    Different polls use somewhat different methodologies and samples and ask somewhat differently phrased questions, Francis. But they all get similar responses on this and most other questions. If you put them all together the graph of gay marriage approval would look about like the Post poll.

  6. emjayay says

    True Zlick. This isn’t exactly the humanistic free spirited Ectopia one might have projected from the late 60’s. A lot of people get more conservative as they age, but a lot just get smarter. Gay marriage is a done deal everywhere in the western world, and when opinion numbers are split in age groups on any gay related question the younger the group the way more supportive, and no doubt way more supportive than they would have been in the past.

  7. GregV says

    “Young people of the 1960’s were the future, but did any of that idealism ever change the present when all those kids became adults?”

    @Zlick: Are you kidding? It changed A LOT as the kids of the ’60s became adults.
    In 1967, interracial couples could be imprisoned for 10 years and there were no black people to be found on TV commercials or in TV or movie roles unless they were the maid or the butler. Letting blacks drink out of fountains and go into restaurants and hotels and churches and schools with other people was a scary “liberal agenda” in the South.
    Men would be arrested and beat by police for dancing with men and a woman having consensual oral sex with her husband was eligible for life in prison in some states.
    Women were paid less than men for the same job but had a far harder time getting that job.
    I could go on and on.
    Did everything change for the better instantly? No. Was there a huge amount of social change that better respected human rights and edged closer and closer to fair treatment for everyone? Absolutely!

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