National polls find growing support for legalizing same-sex marriage


Three national polls released this week find widespread support for marriage equality, just days before the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to consider the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, and California‘s ban on same-sex marriage.

According to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released Wednesday, 55 percent of those surveyed said married gay and lesbian couples should be able to qualify for Social Security survivor payments and other benefits provided to married heterosexual couples.

Majority support for such benefits was seen across all regions of the United States, even in the traditionally more conservative South, according to the poll of 2,886 people between March 5 and March 14.

A more extensive Reuters/Ipsos poll of 24,455 people between January 1 and March 14 found only a quarter of Americans opposed same-sex marriage or civil unions, although there were deep regional differences of opinion.

Overall, that Reuters poll found 63 percent supported same-sex marriage or civil unions, with 41 percent of people saying same-sex couples should be permitted to marry.

On Monday, a CNN/ORC International poll found that 53 percent of Americans say that marriages between gay or lesbian couples should be legally recognized as valid, with 44 percent not supporting same-sex marriage.

The CNN poll also noted major generational and partisan divides, as well as a gender gap.

“There are big differences among younger and older Americans, with the youngest age group twice as likely than senior citizens to support same-sex marriage,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “Women are also more likely to call for legal recognition of gay marriage than men. And only three in ten Americans who attend religious services every week support same-sex marriage while six in ten Americans who don’t attend church weekly feel that way.”

The Reuters/Ipsos poll found the greatest support was in the Northeast, with 69 percent of adults favoring rights marriage or civil unions rights for same-sex couples; the lowest support was in the South, at 57 percent.

Also on Monday, an ABC News/Washington Post poll found that 58 percent of Americans now say same-sex marriage should be legal. That poll revealed one striking gap, that gay marriage is supported by a vast 81 percent of adults younger than 30, compared with just 44 percent of seniors.

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