July 26, 2013
7/26: Nearly Half of Americans Support Same-Sex Marriage
Gay and lesbian couples who are married legally in their states are now permitted to receive federal benefits thanks to last month’s U.S. Supreme Court decision which overturned the Defense of Marriage Act. But, are Americans more receptive to same-sex marriage than they were in the past? According to this national McClatchy-Marist Poll, nearly half of adults — 49% — either strongly favor or favor allowing gays and lesbians to legally marry. This includes nearly one in four — 24% — who strongly favor and one in four — 25% — who are in favor of gay marriage. Four in ten — 40% — either strongly oppose or oppose same-sex marriage, and 11% are unsure.
POLL MUST BE SOURCED: McClatchy-Marist Poll
“There have been significant changes in attitudes on the issue of same-sex marriage,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “Although younger Americans are more likely to support same-sex marriage than their older counterparts, there has been greater acceptance across all age groups over the past 10 years.”
Many Americans are more open-minded to the idea of same-sex marriage than they were a decade ago. According to data by the Pew Research Center released in 2003, just 32% of adults nationally either strongly favored or favored allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally. This compares with nearly six in ten — 59% — who strongly opposed or opposed same-sex marriage. Nine percent, at the time, were unsure.
According to this current McClatchy-Marist Poll, younger residents are more likely to support gay marriage than older Americans. Almost six in ten residents younger than 45 — 58% — support the legal marriage of gay and lesbian couples. This compares with 42% of those 45 and older.
There are also regional and racial differences. Americans living in the Northeast — 65% — and in the West — 57% — are more likely than U.S. residents in the Midwest — 44% — and in the South — 39% — to support same-sex marriage. Looking at race, majorities of Latino — 54% — and white — 53% — adults nationally support allowing gay and lesbians to marry legally. This compares with just 28% of African Americans.
Majority Favors Federal Recognition of Gay Marriage
The Supreme Court has not ruled on whether or not same-sex marriage is constitutional. However, a majority of Americans — 52% — think the decision about the legality of same-sex marriage should be made for the entire country based on federal law. 43% believe the decision should be made by each state, and 5% are unsure.
Men and women differ on this question. While a majority of women — 56% — want the federal government to make the decision about the legality of same-sex marriage, men divide. 48% of men believe there should be a uniform law throughout the nation while the same proportion — 48% — believe the ruling should be left to the states.