The Human Rights Campaign this week released results of a survey into issues surrounding the Defense of Marriage Act. Results show that a majority of respondents believe GOP House leaders should be focusing on the issue of jobs instead of defending DOMA in court, that voters may believe it’s time to dispense with DOMA altogether, and that a majority support giving same-sex couples the benefits of marriage.
The poll, conducted on 3/8/2011 through 3/10/2011 by telephone survey (including cell phones), quizzed a total of 800 registered voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.46%.
American voters oppose the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) – the law that forbids the federal government from recognizing legally married same-sex couples – as well as efforts by the House Republican leadership to intervene in court cases defending the law, according to new polling released today by the Human Rights Campaign in partnership with Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research. This poll is the first in a series of quarterly surveys from HRC and GQRR that will analyze public opinion on critical lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues.
Overall, voters say they oppose the Defense of Marriage Act – 51 percent oppose the law and 34 percent favor it. Independent voters, who were instrumental in the Republican House takeover, oppose this law by a 52 percent to 34 percent margin. Additionally when read statements for and against defending the law in court, 54 percent of voters oppose the House Republicans’ intervention, while only 32 percent support it. Poll results are available at www.hrc.org/DOMApoll2011.
DOMA prohibits the federal government from granting married same-sex couples things like Social Security survivor benefits, health insurance for federal employees’ spouses, joint tax filing, family and medical leave and other critical protections. When asked if they favor or oppose some of these benefits for gay and lesbian couples who have been legally married, voters responded: on Social Security survivor benefits, 60 favor, 34 oppose; on federal employee health benefits for spouses, 58 percent favor, 36 percent oppose; on protecting spouses from losing their homes in cases of severe medical emergencies or death, 64 percent favor, 28 percent oppose; and on avoiding tax penalties by filing joint tax returns as a married couple, 55 percent favor, 38 percent oppose.
Given a list of issues important in determining their vote for President, voters ranked the economy and jobs (54 percent), Medicare and Social Security (23 percent) and education (19 percent) as most important with only 5 percent of respondents saying “gay marriage” was most important to them.
The poll also shows a plurality of voters disapprove of the way the Republicans are handling their job in charge of the House of Representatives: 42 percent approve, 45 percent disapprove. When asked how the Republican majority is handling voters’ most important issue – jobs – 80 percent have a negative response while only 15 percent say they’re doing a good or excellent job.
“Americans are clamoring for Congress to deal with jobs and the economy,” said [HRC President Joe] Solmonese. “This new poll shows that House Republican leaders take their eye off the economic ball at their own peril.”
This comes as the Republican House leadership pushed on with their plan to defend Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act last week, making formal the process of finding attorneys to defend the law for several cases currently making their way through the courts.
Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi also sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner last week in which she requested he put a figure on exactly how much it will cost to defend DOMA Section 3, saying that the House of Representatives would be better disposed tackling the issues of job creation and economic stability. Read the letter here.
Take Action: Tell Congress to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.