Poll: Gay Marriage Support Reaches Record

Wednesday, 05 Mar 2014 11:09 AM

By Melissa Clyne

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In a decade, Americans’ views on same-sex marriage have reversed, going from 59 percent against it in 2004, compared with the same percentage in favor today, The Washington Post reported.

Thirty-four percent of Americans oppose gay marriage, marking the widest margin to date, according to the Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Seventeen states and the District of Columbia recognize same-sex marriage; 10 states recognize gay unions and partnerships; and 33 states – mostly clustered in the South and West – don’t allow either. Fifty-three percent of people in the states prohibiting gay marriage are in favor of it, compared with 40 percent against it, the poll shows.

Support for gay marriage has steadily climbed since the U.S. Supreme Court last year ruled as unconstitutional a key portion of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Section 3 of that law withheld federal benefits from same-sex couples married in states where gay marriage or legal unions are recognized. It was a 5-to-4 decision.

Attitudes about gay marriage tend to skew along religious and ideological lines, according to The Post, which notes that support is lowest with evangelicals and conservative Republicans.

Half of Republicans believe people are born gay, and among those with that belief, 64 percent favor gay marriage, and 61 percent think it’s a constitutional right. Seventy percent support gay adoption.

"Even though I was brought up very conservatively and very religiously, I don’t care what sexual orientation people are," Lilly Telatycki of Surprise, Ariz., told The Post, adding that the Republican Party, which she normally votes for, spends too much time on the issue.

Democrats are divided along racial and class lines. Eight in 10 white Democrats support same-sex marriage – even more with incomes above $50,000 – while just 6 in 10 non-whites and lower earners favor it.

Age and religion largely influence attitudes, according to polling data.

Six in 10 Catholics and non-evangelical Protestants support same-sex marriage, compared with 6 in 10 evangelical Protestants opposing it. Seventy-five percent of those under 30 are in favor, while fewer than half of seniors say the same.

Last week, Republican Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed a bill, passed by the Republican-controlled legislature, that would have allowed businesses the right to refuse service to gay people and others on religious grounds.

According to The New York Times, lawsuits filed in other states against florists, photographers, and bakers for refusing to cater same-sex events was the impetus for the bill.

"This bill is about preventing discrimination against people who are clearly living out their faith," Arizona Sen. Steve Yarbrough argued while debating the measure.

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