Americans’ Support for Same-Sex Marriage Is at an All-Time High

Support grows as courts continue to strike down state laws that bar gay couples from marrying.

National Journal
Kaveh Waddell
See more stories about...
Kaveh Waddell
May 21, 2014, 9:50 a.m.

The push to leg­al­ize same-sex mar­riage is gain­ing mo­mentum at the state level — and pub­lic sup­port is there to back it up.

At 55 per­cent, Amer­ic­ans’ sup­port for same-sex mar­riage is at an all-time high, ac­cord­ing to a new Gal­lup Poll. The gap between sup­port­ers and op­pon­ents of same-sex mar­riage has been widen­ing since 2011, when sup­port­ers first found them­selves in the ma­jor­ity.

As has been the case for years, older Amer­ic­ans are far less likely than young­er gen­er­a­tions to fa­vor gay and les­bi­an mar­riage. At 42 per­cent, sup­port among people over 65 is nearly half the rate among 18-to-29-year-olds, 78 per­cent of whom think same-sex mar­riage should be leg­al. Demo­crats are more than twice as likely as Re­pub­lic­ans to fa­vor same-sex mar­riage, 74 per­cent to 30 per­cent. Only 48 per­cent of Amer­ic­ans in the South be­lieve same-sex mar­riage should be leg­al, mak­ing it the only re­gion where the prac­tice is still op­posed by a ma­jor­ity.

The poll res­ults come hot on the heels of vic­tor­ies for pro­ponents of same-sex mar­riage in Ore­gon and Pennsylvania this week. An Ore­gon judge ruled on Monday that a ban on gay mar­riage, in place since 2004, was un­con­sti­tu­tion­al, al­low­ing the state to be­gin is­su­ing mar­riage li­censes to same-sex couples im­me­di­ately. The next day, a sim­il­ar state con­sti­tu­tion­al ban was struck down in Pennsylvania, mak­ing it the 19th state to al­low gay mar­riage.

Al­though na­tion­wide sup­port for gay and les­bi­an mar­riage has been con­sist­ently above 50 per­cent since 2011, Amer­ic­ans who fa­vor it seem to think they’re in the minor­ity. A 2013 Gal­lup Poll showed that 63 per­cent of Amer­ic­ans thought the pub­lic was largely op­posed to same-sex mar­riage and only 30 per­cent thought the op­pos­ite. But as mo­mentum con­tin­ues to grow among pro­ponents of mar­riage equal­ity, the move­ment’s suc­cesses are be­com­ing more and more vis­ible — and the is­sue, per­haps, more main­stream.

The Gal­lup Poll sur­veyed 1,028 adults in all 50 states and the Dis­trict of Columbia, May 8-11. The mar­gin of er­ror is plus or minus 5 per­cent­age points.

What We're Following See More »
What the Current Crop of Candidates Could Learn from JFK
1 days ago

Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”

Maher Weighs in on Bernie, Trump and Palin
2 days ago

“We haven’t seen a true leftist since FDR, so many millions are coming out of the woodwork to vote for Bernie Sanders; he is the Occupy movement now come to life in the political arena.” So says Bill Maher in his Hollywood Reporter cover story (more a stream-of-consciousness riff than an essay, actually). Conservative states may never vote for a socialist in the general election, but “this stuff has never been on the table, and these voters have never been activated.” Maher saves most of his bile for Donald Trump and Sarah Palin, writing that by nominating Palin as vice president “John McCain is the one who opened the Book of the Dead and let the monsters out.” And Trump is picking up where Palin left off.