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Half of Americans Support Same-Sex Marriage

Half of Americans Support Same-Sex Marriage

For the second year in a row, Gallup shows that at least half of Americans support same-sex marriage (including at least one recent supporter). The number is actually down slightly from last year, when 53% of Americans agreed that same-sex marriages should be recognized by law as valid, with the same rights as traditional marriages. But it cements what other research organizations — including the Pew Research Center and others — have shown, which is that at least a plurality (if not a majority) of Americans support same-sex marriage.

Gallup’s 2012 number on same-sex marriage is accompanied by a revealing trend chart that shows the trajectory of support for same-sex marriage going back to 1996. In the eight years since 2004 — when many blamed homophobia for narrowly sinking John Kerry’s presidential bid — support for gay marriage has risen by eight percentage points, suggesting that President Obama, facing reelection in November, may not be handicapped by this specific kind of voter prejudice, others notwithstanding.

According to Pew, which asked the question slightly differently, levels of support have shifted even more significantly since 2004. In April, Pew showed that 47% (a plurality) of Americans supported same-sex marriage, compared to only 31% who supported it in 2004, a significant sixteen point increase.

Another research organization, the Public Religion Research Institute, conducted an in-depth survey on gay and lesbian issues last summer, where they discovered that there is “at least a 20-point generation gap between Millennials (age 18 to 29) and seniors (age 65 and older) on every public policy measure in the survey concerning rights for gay and lesbian people.” This suggests that young voters, who enthusiastically supported Obama in 2008 and may be disenchanted, could find new reasons to come back around to the President. Indeed, driven by young peoples’ liberal attitudes, majorities of religious groups like Catholics and white mainline Protestants support same-sex marriage, something that would have been unthinkable 20 years ago.

If public opinion on gay marriage has changed so rapidly in the past two decades, imagine what it will be ten years from now.

Related Stories:

New Zealand PM “Not Opposed” to Gay Marriage

‘Like Lincoln and Emancipation’: Obama’s Gay Marriage Evolution

Pope Tells US Bishops to Fight Gay Marriage, Cohabitation

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Photo Credit: John Belmonte

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20 comments

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6:53PM PDT on May 12, 2012

I don't care whether people I don't even know supports my right to marry the woman I love or not, I care that the government denies my right to marry her! I only care if people are anti-gay or not so that I know how much risks and hate I could face.

3:14PM PDT on May 12, 2012

Gay married people still contribute to society. Why object if marriage is what they want ?

11:42AM PDT on May 12, 2012

Different strokes for different folks! Equal rights! That's what the USA is supposed to stand for!

11:24AM PDT on May 12, 2012

Why would one stand against Love? Is it not true,that love conquers all?..

10:33AM PDT on May 12, 2012

This is good, but it doesn’t matter if half or if no Americans support gay marriage. It is a human rights issue and cannot be voted on. The vast majority of Americans did not want blacks to be able to marry whites, but it was overruled. “Popular opinion” does not apply here. Popular opinion does not apply to human rights issues at all.

9:12AM PDT on May 12, 2012

I don't understand people that want equal right protected but in the second breath they let others know IF you don't agree and think as I do your rights should be taken away. Marriage is legal right to benefits not allowed to singles living together. I don't think we have the right to tell others how to live especially when it doesn't effect our lives at all. Someone elses bedrooms are non of our business.

9:00AM PDT on May 12, 2012

I truly am not fighting for my right to marry, I am fighting for my LEGAL RIGHTS that come with marriage.........Marriage is a piece of paper, but the rights that come with that piece of paper are worth everything to a spouse.

7:29AM PDT on May 12, 2012

I'm almost 70 too and really thought by the time I was this age, ALL marriage would be a thing of the past......but sadly no....people still think they need the government's permission to live together...so...if that's what they want then of course it should be for everybody....
But gee....I remember the old saying....."If you're living with somebody you really love, who needs a piece of paper?...and if you're living with somebody you don't love anymore
...again, who needs a piece of paper?

7:20AM PDT on May 12, 2012

If the premise for the story

"For the second year in a row, Gallup shows that at least half of Americans support same-sex marriage"

is correct then 32 states have miscounted their votes. This is not the first, nor will it be the last, time that the "polls" are woefully wrong. Even California, Colorado and several other bluer than blue states poll in favor of gay marriage while at the voters booth it is voted out by landslides.

There are no "unequal rights" with the present marriage laws which are governed by the same method as building permits. That which is allowed in one area is not allowed in the next... regardless of what you want. Until "marriage" is removed as a government function it will remain this way.

7:08AM PDT on May 12, 2012

While the other half are married.

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