Poll: Support for Same-Sex Marriage Never Higher

Tuesday, 19 Mar 2013 12:32 AM

By Matthew Auerbach

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Support for same-sex marriage has never been higher, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

The poll shows that 58 percent of Americans now believe gay and lesbian couples should be allowed to get married, while 36 percent say it should be illegal.

Public attitudes toward gay marriage are a mirror image of what they were a decade ago: in 2003, 37 percent favored gay nuptials, and 55 percent opposed them.

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The Supreme Court takes up the issue of gay marriage next week, and nearly two-thirds of all Americans are in favor of the matter being decided for all states on the basis of the U.S. Constitution and not with each state making its own laws.

Support is highest among young adults age 18 to 29, hitting a record high of 81 percent in the new poll.

Favorable opinion about legalizing same-sex marriage has also been increasing among older adults, but those aged 65 and up remain opposed, on balance. Some 44 percent say same-sex marriage should be legal while 50 percent say it should be illegal.

A small majority of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents under 50 now support gay marriage.

Nearly seven in 10 of those aged 65 and up oppose it, although that is down from more than eight in 10 just four years ago.

There has been a related movement in public opinion about homosexuality.

Sixty-two percent of Americans now say being gay is just the way some people are, not something people choose to be.

Twenty years ago, fewer than half of the public said so.

About three-quarters of those who do not see homosexuality as a choice support gay marriage, with most supporting it “strongly.”

Conversely, more than two-thirds of those who see it as a choice oppose gay marriage, with almost all intensely against it.

The Washington Post-ABC News poll was conducted March 7-10, among a random national sample of 1,001 adults.

The margin of sampling error for the full survey is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

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