Results from a Washington Post/ABC News survey released Friday show that 53% of Americans questioned now support same-sex marriage while 45% are opposed, demonstrating a continued upward trend in support.
The poll was conducted by telephone between March 10 and March 13, using a random national sample of 1,005 adults. Results from the full poll have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5%.
From The Washington Post:
Five years ago, at 36 percent, support for gay marriage barely topped a third of all Americans. Now, 53 percent say gay marriage should be legal, marking the first time in Post-ABC polling that a majority has said so.
“This is very consistent with a lot of other polling data we’ve seen and the general momentum we’ve seen over the past year and a half,” said Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, a leading pro-gay-marriage group. “As people have come to understand this is about loving, committed families dealing, like everyone, with tough times, they understand how unfair it is to treat them differently.”
However, Brian Brown, the leader of the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage, was quick to label the survey “biased” and flawed.
Again from The Washington Post:
Opponents of same-sex marriage took issue with the poll, which asks respondents: “Do you think it should be legal or illegal for gay and lesbian couples to get married?” Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, argued that the term “illegal” could be inferred to mean that violators could be imprisoned, which most Americans would consider harsh.
“The only poll that counts is a free and fair vote on the part of the people,” he said. “We’ve seen these biased polls time and time again — right before votes in which same-sex marriage is rejected. It’s absurd. The people of this country have not changed their opinion about marriage.”
The Post/ABC poll has used the same terminology in every survey concerning same-sex marriage since 2003. These results also fall in-step with other recent surveys. Polls by the Associated Press(.pdf), CNN(.pdf) and the Pew Research Centre have all found marriage equality has passed the threshold of majority support.
An overview of respondents’ answers to the Post/ABC poll would suggest that the issue of same-sex marriage is not as polarizing as it once was. It also demonstrates a marked increase in men backing marriage equality. This is to the extent that men now display an equal level of support for same-sex marriage as women who have traditionally always been ahead on this issue.
The poll also identified gains in support among college-educated youth and those that consider themselves political independents or non-religious.
Older white Republicans identifying as religious remain the most opposed, suggests the data. For further analysis, please click here.
In an interesting aside, a poll released by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) this week showed that a majority of those questioned believe GOP House leaders should be focusing on the issue of jobs instead of defending the federal gay marriage ban, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), in court.
GOP House leaders moved to defend the law after the Obama administration announced that, after review, it could no longer defend the constitutionality of Section 3 of DOMA.
The HRC poll also showed that a slim majority thought DOMA should be dispensed with completely. Read more on that here.
Take Action: Tell Congress to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.