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Popular Topics in Social Sciences
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Topics In the News
Support for Gay Rights Soars in Recent Polls
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 03/05/14
Last updated on: 03/06/14
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Recent opinion polls indicate a marked increase in American support for gay rights, including marriage equality. A Washington Post/ABC News poll released on March 5, 2014 reveals a record level of acceptance of gay people. The poll confirms other polls that have found steadily rising levels of support since the Supreme Court issued its landmark rulings on the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8 in June 2013. That support includes, but transcends, the question of equal marriage, and extends into issues of parental and employment rights and even the nature of homosexuality itself.

The Washington Post/ABC News poll comes on the heels of a New York Times/CBS poll on the question of same-sex marriage that found similar results. The Times indicated that 56% of American voters were in favor of marriage equality while 39% were opposed. In the Post survey, however, the numbers are a record-shattering 59% in favor and 34% opposed.

As Peyton M. Cargill and Scott Clement report in the Washington Post, the newspaper's poll also found that half of all Americans believe that gay men and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry, while 41% say the constitution's equal protection clause does not grant the right to marry.

Apart from the constitutional question, however, the 59% in favor and the 34% in opposition to same-sex marriage constitutes the widest margin tracked in Post-ABC polling on the issue.

The poll found that in the 33 states that prohibit same-sex marriage, 53% support it, while 40% oppose it.

According to the poll, nearly seven in ten Americans are opposed to laws that would allow businesses to refuse serving gays and others based on the religious convictions of the business owner.

Nearly eight in ten Americans believe that gay men and lesbians can parent as well as heterosexuals.

In addition, 61% support allowing gay men and lesbians to adopt a child, and more than twice as many people consider being gay as "just the way they are" rather than a "lifestyle choice."

Despite the emerging consensus in favor of equal rights, deep chasms remain along religious, generational, and political lines.

For example, six in 10 evangelical Protestants oppose same-sex marriage, while about six in 10 Catholics, non-evangelical Protestants, and eight in 10 with no religious affiliation support it.

Three-quarters of Americans younger than 30 support same-sex marriage, while less than half of seniors do.

Democrats (70%) and independents (61%) strongly support marriage equality, while Republicans oppose same-sex marriage by a 54%-40% margin.

More details about the Washington Post/ABC poll may be found here.

The poll is discussed in a news segment from St. Paul, Minnesota's KTSP television station.

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