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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, March 22, 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 12
Large majority supports marriage equality, new poll says
Section One
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Large majority supports marriage equality, new poll says

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Fifty-eight percent of U.S. adults now support marriage equality, a new ABC News/Washington Post poll has found, while only 36% are opposed.

The results, released March 18, show a complete flip form the first time the marriage poll was taken, only 10 years ago. In 2003, 55% of the respondents opposed marriage equality and only 37% favored it.

The new poll surveyed 1,001 U.S. adults, including both cell and landline phone users, between March 7 and 10. It has a margin of error of 3.5 points.

A 'DRAMATIC' SHIFT
'This latest poll underscores America's dramatic and stunning embrace of the freedom to marry, and says to decision-makers - lawmakers, judges, and even justices - that it is time to end marriage discrimination,' said Freedom to Marry President Evan Wolfson.

'With a super-majority of Americans now supporting the freedom to marry, and majority support in nearly every segment of the public, the freedom to marry's time has, indeed, come.'

The ABC/WaPo findings correspond exactly to a meta-analysis of national polling trends issued by Freedom to Marry on March 7. Freedom to Marry's 'poll of polls' summary also showed 58% supporting same-sex marriage and 36% opposed.

AGE, GENDER GAPS PERSIST
According to the new findings, the single best predictor of support for marriage equality is age cohort. A whopping 81% of respondents under age 30 support equality. Fifty-six percent of those in the 30-64 age bracket agree, but only 44% of those 65 and over want Gay and Lesbian couples to be able to marry.

Seventy-two percent of Democrats and 62% of independents support equality, but only 34% of Republicans agree. Nevertheless, the number of Republicans who support same-sex marriage has increased 18 points in the past decade.

Among religious respondents, 70% of those who identify with mainline Protestant churches support equality. Surprisingly, Roman Catholics also favor equality, with 59% of Catholic respondents also supporting Gay and Lesbian marriages. Only 31% of white evangelical Protestants think same-sex couples should marry, however.

A larger proportion of nonwhites support equality, the poll shows - 61% of nonwhite respondents said they support same-sex marriage, up 33 points over the past 10 years. Fifty-seven percent of whites agree, a figure that has risen 23 points in the past decade.

Women support equality at a higher rate than men, 61% compared to 54%.

BORN THAT WAY?
The survey also asked respondents whether they thought being Gay is 'something people choose,' or 'just the way they are.' Sixty-four percent agreed sexual orientation is 'just the way they are,' while 24% said it is a choice.

The answer to this question appears to be critical in determining people's opinion on marriage. Of those who thought being Gay is a choice, only 29% support same-sex marriage, but 73% of those who see it as 'just the way they are' support equality.

Pollsters also asked, 'Do you think each state should make its own law on whether same-sex marriage is legal or illegal there, or do you think this should be decided for all states on the basis of the U.S. Constitution?'

In all, 64% of respondents said the issue should be decided nationwide, while only 33% want the issue settled state-by-state. On that issue, attitudes toward marriage equality did not seem to affect the respondents' answer - 68% of those who favor equality and 62% of those who oppose it want the problem settled 'on the basis of the Constitution.'

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BREAKING NEWS
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We're not broken - don't 'fix' us!
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