Gallup poll: Same-sex marriage support at new high

10402506_501490293284126_5257312347839643206_nA majority of Americans across the nation continue to support same-sex marriage, but sharp regional differences remain, according to a poll released Wednesday, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The current Gallup poll,  shows that 55 percent of Americans support same-sex marriage, a percentage that has continued to rise since 2011, when support passed the majority point. In 1996, when Gallup first asked about the issue, just 27 percent of Americans surveyed said they believed that gay marriage should be legal.

The poll comes as federal courts this week in Oregon and Pennsylvania struck down state bans on same-sex marriage, meaning that 19 states and the District of Columbia now give gays the same rights as heterosexuals when it comes to matrimonial issues. The issue is pending in courts in almost every state and has been argued in two federal appeals districts involving cases from Utah and Virginia.

Most people expect the final decision will be made by the U.S. Supreme Court, which often waits for a variety of rulings from around the country before taking on an issue. While the court tries to insulate itself from polls, justices are aware of changing social mores and many think that it becomes a factor when deciding to tackle an issue. For example, the court acted when popular sentiment changed on race relations and abortion, among other issues.

According to the poll, 42 percent of those surveyed this year said gay marriage should not be valid, a number that has been falling from its high in 2011, when 47 percent opposed same-sex marriage.

The current poll is based on telephone interviews conducted May 8 to May 11 with a random sample of 1,028 adults living in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. It has a margin of error of plus or minus five percentage points.

All age groups have shown an increasing acceptance of same-sex marriage, but the greatest gains have been among the younger group. In 1996, 41 percent of those aged 18 to 29 years said that gay marriage should be legal. But that figure jumped to 78 percent this year.

By comparison, those 50 years and older remained below the majority level, even though their support increased.

Those 50 to 64 years old jumped from 15 percent saying they support gay marriage to 48 percent. Those older than 65 increased from 14 percent to 42 percent.

Regional differences remain a major consideration with the South, often referred to as the Bible Belt, as the only area below majority acceptance of same-sex marriage. According to the poll, 48 percent of those surveyed in the South accept gay marriage.

In the East, 67 percent voiced support; the West stood at 59 percent in support and the Midwest at 53 percent.

Southern states have a variety of constitutional bans on same-sex marriage, from Louisiana in 2004 through North Carolina in 2012. Bans in Arkansas and Kentucky have been challenged in court. One of the key cases on state bans is in Virginia, the capital of the Confederacy during the Civil War.

Virginia was also the state where the Supreme Court in 1967 struck down the ban on people of different races marrying each other. That case, Loving vs. Virginia, has frequently been cited in the current federal rulings supporting gay marriage.

—  Steve Ramos

What’s Brewing: Majority of Americans back marriage equality for 1st time ever in Gallup poll

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. It’s hardly the first poll to show that a majority of Americans support same-sex marriage, but it’s the first time a Gallup poll has shown it. Fifty-three percent of Americans believe same-sex marriage should be recognized by the law as valid, with the same rights afforded to heterosexual couples, according to poll results released Thursday. This marks a 9 percent increase from 12 months ago, the largest jump in the history of Gallup’s polling on the topic.

2. The Rhode Island House approved a civil unions bill Thursday in the face of opposition from both sides of the issue. Many LGBT advocates opposed the civil unions bill because they want full marriage equality, while right-wingers opposed it because they believe it’s a step toward marriage equality. But the House vote was convincing, 62-to-11, and the bill now moves to the Senate.

3. Hundreds of activists from both sides are expected back at the Minnesota Capitol today, as they continue to await a state House vote on a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage. Meanwhile, the campaign to defeat the amendment at the ballot box in 2012 has already begun. Watch video below.

—  John Wright

Poll: Opposition to gay marriage drops

A new Gallup poll released today indicates that opposition to same-sex marriage continues to decline.

The poll surveyed 1,029 adults from May 3 to May 6, and found that 53 percent of Americans oppose gay marriage, and 44 percent support it.

According to RTT News, 53 percent ties Gallup’s all-time low from 2007 for those opposing gay marriage. The opposition is also down 4 percent from 2009, when a poll indicated 57 percent opposed gay marriage, and 40 percent supported it.

The new poll also indicates that more Democrats than Republicans support gay marriage (big surprise there, huh?), and — believe it or not — “religion played a major role in Americans’ view on gay marriage.” I know, you are all floored by that revelation.

Breaking it down, RTT News reported: “Among Americans where religion is very important, 70 percent were opposed to gay marriage. Among those where it is only fairly important, 37 percent were opposed. Finally, among those where religion is not important at all, only 27 percent were opposed.”

—  admin