Public opinion of same-sex marriage in the United States

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There is much media coverage of and research on public opinion of same-sex marriage in the United States. Most polls since 2010 show majority support for legal recognition of same-sex marriage. Majority public support for same-sex marriage has solidified, as polls since 2010 consistently indicate support well above 50%.[1] Support has increased steadily for more than a decade, with supporters first achieving a majority in 2010.[2][3][4][5] An August 2010 CNN poll became the first national poll to show majority support for same-sex marriage,[6] with nearly all subsequent polls showing majority support.[7][8][9][10]

Support for same-sex marriage generally correlates with younger age (younger than 50),[11] higher education, and residence in the Northeast, West Coast[12] and some parts of the Midwest, and lack of religious fundamentalism. Women are also more likely to be in support than men.[8][13]

Polls[edit]

Polls in 2014[edit]

A Pew Research Center poll released in March 2014 researched support for same-sex marriage among Republican leaning voters in the United States. 61% of Republican leaning voters aged 18–29 support allowing same-sex couples to marry, while only 27% of Republican leaning voters over 50 years of age are supportive.[14]

A Washington Post/ABC News poll from February–March 2014 found a record high of 59% of Americans approve of same-sex marriage, with only 34% opposed and 7% with no opinion. The poll also revealed that 53% of the population in the States that currently do not allow same-sex couples to marry approve of same-sex marriage. 50% of respondents said that the United States Constitution guarantees the freedom to marry the person of one's choice, regardless of that persons's sex or sexual orientation. 41% disagreed, and 9% had no opinion.[15] The same poll also found that 81% of people found that businesses should not be allowed to refuse to serve gays and lesbians. 16% disagreed, and 3% had no opinion. 78% thought that gay couples can be "just as good parents" as straight couples, while 18% disagreed and 4% had no opinion.[16]

Polls in 2013[edit]

A November/December 2013 Public Religion Research Institute poll sponsored by the Ford Foundation found that 53% of all Americans supported same-sex marriage, while 41% were opposed and 6% unsure. The margin of error was 1.1%. The same poll found clear majorities in favor of same-sex marriage in the Northeast (60%), West (58%), and Midwest (51%). Only the South was evenly divided 48% in favor to 48% opposed. Further, nearly 7-in-10 (69%) of those born after 1980 (ages 18–33) favored allowing same-sex couples to marry.[17]

A Bloomberg National Poll conducted by Selzer & Company taken during September 20–23, 2013 found that 55% supported same-sex marriage, while 36% opposed and 9% unsure.[18]

A September Quinnipiac University poll found that 56% of American adults and 57% of registered voters supported same-sex marriage. Only 36% of both groups were opposed.[19]

A July 10–14 poll by Gallup found support for same-sex marriage at 54%, a record high, and double the support of 27% Gallup first measured when the question was asked in 1996.[20]

A July poll by USA Today found that 55% of Americans supported same-sex marriage while 40% did not.[21]

A May 9 Washington Post-ABC News poll found that 55% of Americans supported same-sex marriage while 40% did not.[22]

A March 20–24 CBS News Poll found that 53% of Americans supported same-sex marriage, 39% opposed it, and 8% were undecided.[23] The same poll also found that 33% of Americans who thought same-sex couples should be allowed to legally marry said they once held the opposite view and had changed their opinion.

A March 7–10 Washington Post-ABC News[24] poll found that 58% of Americans support same-sex marriage while 36% opposed. The poll indicated that 52% of GOP-leaning independents under 50 years old supported same-sex marriage.[25]

A March Quinnipiac University poll of voters found 47% supported same-sex marriage and 43% were opposed.[26]

Polls in 2012[edit]

Public support in the United States for same-sex marriage solidified, as polls consistently showed that same-sex marriage enjoys majority support with increasing tendency.

A November 26–29 Gallup poll found that 53% of Americans support same-sex marriage while 46% do not.[27]

A November 16–19 CBS News poll found that 51% of Americans support same-sex marriage while 40% do not.[28]

A November 7–11 ABC News/Washington Post poll found 51% of respondents support same-sex marriage while 47% are opposed.[29]

A June 6 CNN/ORC International poll showed that a majority of Americans support same-sex marriage being legalized at 54%, while 42% are opposed.[30]

A May 22 NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showed that 54% of Americans would support a law in their state making same-sex marriage legal, with 40% opposed.[31]

A May 17–20 ABC News/Washington Post poll showed that 53% believe same-sex marriage should be legal, with only 39% opposed, a low point for opposition in any national poll so far.[32][33]

A May 10 USA Today/Gallup Poll, taken one day after Barack Obama became the first sitting President to express support for same-sex marriage,[34] showed 51% of Americans agreed with the President's endorsement, while 45% disagreed.[35] A May 8 Gallup Poll showed plurality support for same-sex marriage nationwide, with 50% in favor and 48% opposed.[36]

An April Pew Research Center poll showed support for same-sex marriage at 48%, while opposition fell to 44%.[37]

A March 7–10 ABC News/Washington Post poll found 52% of adults thought it should be legal for same-sex couples to get married, while 42% disagreed and 5% were unsure.[18] A March survey by the Public Religion Research Institute found 52% of Americans supported allowing same-sex couples to marry, while 44% opposed.[38]

A February 29 – March 3 NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found 49% of adults supported allowing same-sex couples to marry, while 40% opposed.[39]

Polls in 2011[edit]

Public support for same-sex marriage continued to grow in 2011. In February and March, a Pew Research Center for the People & the Press survey found about as many adults favored (45%) as opposed (46%) allowing same-sex couples to marry legally, compared to a 2009 Pew Research survey that found just 37% backed same-sex marriage while 54% opposed.[40] In March and April, polls by Gallup,[8] ABC News/Washington Post,[9] and CNN/Opinion Research[10] all showed that a majority of Americans approved of same-sex marriage.

As had been the case since 1996, there remained a wide partisan division. In March, Pew reported that 57% of Democrats favored legal recognition for same-sex marriage, and 51% of independents agreed, but only 23% of Republicans agreed.[40] An April CNN/Opinion Research Poll showed majority support including 64% of Democrats and 55% of independents, but only 27% of Republicans.[10]

In March 2011, Democracy Corps conducted a survey of 1,000 likely 2012 election voters in 50 congressional districts considered political battlegrounds. It asked respondents to rate their feelings on the same-sex marriage issue on a 0–100 scale, with 100 being "very warm" or favorable feelings, and 0 being "very cold" or unfavorable feelings. 42% were on the "cool" or unfavorable side, and 35% were on the "warm" or favorable side.[41]

A May 2011 Gallup Poll also showed majority support for same-sex marriage, 53% in favor to 45% opposed. Gallup measured a 9-point increase in support, from 44% to 53%, indicating that support increased faster than in any previous year.[8]

Polls in 2010[edit]

In 2010, national polls began to show majority support for same-sex marriage.

An August Associated Press/National Constitution Center poll found 52% agreed that the federal government should give legal recognition to marriages between couples of the same sex, an increase from 46% in 2009. 46% disagreed, compared to 53% in 2009.[7]

An August CNN/Opinion Research Poll showed that 49% of respondents thought gays and lesbians do have a constitutional right to get married and have their marriage recognized by law as valid, and 52% thought gays and lesbians should have that right.[42]

Earlier polls in February and May found opinion divided within the margin of error, but with a consistent trend of increasing support and decreasing opposition compared to prior years.[43][44] One August poll found majority opposition,[45][46] and a November exit poll of 17,504 voters by CNN during the 2010 midterm elections found 53% opposition with 41% support.[47]

Older polls (2009 and earlier)[edit]

An April 30, 2009 ABC News/Washington Post poll found support for allowing same-sex couples to marry in the United States ahead of opposition for the first time: 49% support, 46% opposition, and 5% with no opinion. In addition, 53% believed that same-sex marriages performed in other states should be legal in their states. 62% of Democrats and 52% of Independents supported same-sex marriage, while 74% of Republicans opposed.[48]

An April 22–26, 2009, poll by CBS/New York Times found 42% supported marriage for same-sex couples, 25% supported civil unions, and 28% opposed any legal recognition of same-sex couples.[49] 5% of respondents were unsure.

A USA Today/Gallup Poll conducted May 7–10, 2009, however, found support at only 40%, lower than in 2003, with 57% opposed.[50] According to this poll, 48% of Americans feel that society would change for the worse if same-sex marriage were legalized, the same percentage as a 2003 poll.[51] The poll asked: "Which comes closest to your view? Gay couples should be allowed to legally marry. OR, Gay couples should be allowed to form civil unions but not legally marry. OR, There should be no legal recognition of a gay couple's relationship."

Legal Marriage Civil Unions No Legal Recognition Unsure
All respondents 42% 25% 28% 5%
Republicans 18% 31% 49% 2%
Democrats 52% 22% 21% 5%
Independents 43% 26% 25% 6%

A CBS News poll conducted from March 12–26, 2009[52] asked: "Which comes closest to your view? Gay couples should be allowed to legally marry. OR, Gay couples should be allowed to form civil unions but not legally marry. OR, There should be no legal recognition of a gay couple's relationship."

Legal marriage Civil union No recognition Unsure
All political parties 33% 27% 35% 5%
  Republicans 6% 34% 59% 1%
  Democrats 46% 23% 26% 5%
  Independents 37% 26% 30% 7%

Nate Silver noted that the discrepancy in support for same-sex marriage appears to result from 5-10% of respondents who favor civil unions over same-sex marriage, but given only two choices, will support same-sex marriage.[53]

A LifeWay Research poll conducted in August 2009 found that 61% of Americans born between 1980 and 1991 see nothing wrong with two people of the same gender getting married while 39% disagree. The survey was conducted on a demographically representative survey of 1,200 U.S. adults between 18 and 29 years old.[54]

In a poll conducted on July 17, 2008, by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, with 55 percent opposed, and 36 percent in favor.[55] An ABC News poll found that the majority (58%) of Americans remained opposed to same-sex marriages, while the minority (36%) support them. However, on the question of a constitutional amendment, more are now opposed than for it. The majority (51%) of Americans say the issue should be left for the states to decide, while 43% would agree with amending the Constitution.[56]

When asked about the legal status, a July 2008 poll by Quinnipiac University Polling Institute revealed that 32% of respondents would allow homosexual partners to legally marry, 33% would permit them to form civil unions, and 29% would grant them no legal recognition.[55][57] A December 2008 poll revealed that 32% of respondents support the concept of civil unions, 31% would offer full marriage rights to same-sex couples, and 30% oppose any legal recognition for gay and lesbian partnerships.[58]

Prior to this poll, Gallup conducted a poll on the issue through May 2006. The poll found opposition to same-sex marriage had fallen slightly, as other polls found a sharper dip. In the poll, when asked if marriages between homosexuals should be recognized by law as valid, with the same rights as traditional marriages, 58% (down 1 point from Aug 2005, and 9 points from March 1996) of Americans responded that they should not be recognized. 39% (up 2 points from Aug 2005, and 12 points from 1996) felt same-sex marriages should be recognized by law. If "homosexuals" is replaced with "same-sex couples", 42% back same-sex marriage while 56% oppose it.[citation needed]

A similar poll conducted in March 2006, a Princeton Survey Research Associates/Pew Research Center poll concluded 39% of Americans support same-sex marriage, while 51% oppose it, and 10% were undecided. In December 2004, a poll by the same company found 61% of Americans opposed – with 38% "strongly opposed". Now, less than 2 years later, just 23% are "strongly opposed". However, an identical poll taken by the same group in June 2006 found a rise in those opposed to same-sex marriage, with 56% disapproving of the practice.

The most recent poll prior to this also showed opposition to same-sex marriages had fallen. An Opinion Dynamics/Fox News poll released April 6 of 2006. According to this poll, 55% of Americans oppose same-sex marriage, 33% support it, and 11% are unsure of where they stand.

Opinion of same-sex marriage in the US.

Gallup Poll (known as the "CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll" before 2006) of adults nationwide.

"Do you think marriages between same-sex couples should or should not be recognized by the law as valid, with the same rights as traditional marriages?" (Wording pre-2006: "Do you think marriages between homosexuals should or should not be recognized by the law as valid, with the same rights as traditional marriages?") N=492, MoE ± 5 (Form A)

In the following table, "Y" means "Should Be Valid"; "N" means "Should Not Be Valid"; and "U" means "Unsure".

Poll Date Y N U
5/3 – 5/6/2012 50 48 2
5/5 – 5/8/2011 53 45 3
5/2 – 5/6/2010 44 53 3
5/7 – 5/10-2009 40 57 3
5/8 – 5/11/2008 40 56 4
5/10 – 5/13/2007 46 53 1
5/8 – 5/11/2006 42 56 2
4/29 – 5/1/2005 39 56 5
3/18 – 3/20/2005 28 68 4
7/19 – 7/21/2004 32 62 6
3/5 – 3/7/2004 33 61 6
2/16 – 2/17/2004 32 64 4
2/6 – 2/8/2004 36 59 5
12/2003 31 65 4
10/2003 35 61 4
6/2003 39 55 6
1/2000 34 62 4
2/1999 35 62 3
3/1996 27 68 5

A poll taken June 22, 2006 by Rasmussen Reports asked "Should marriage be defined in terms of a union between a man and a woman? Or should marriage be defined as a union between any two people including same sex couples?" 68% replied that "marriage is between man and woman", 29% said marriage "between any two people" and 4% were "not sure".[59]

CBS News poll historical results[52] asking:

  • "Which comes closest to your view? Gay couples should be allowed to legally marry. OR, Gay couples should be allowed to form civil unions but not legally marry. OR, There should be no legal recognition of a gay couple's relationship."
Legal marriage Civil union No recognition Unsure
August 20–24, 2010 40% 30% 25% 5%
April 5–12, 2010 39% 24% 30% 7%
June 12–16, 2009 33% 30% 32% 5%
April 22–26, 2009 42% 25% 28% 5%
March 12–26, 2009 33% 27% 35% 5%
May 30 - June 3, 2008 30% 28% 36% 6%
March 7–11, 2007 28% 32% 35% 5%
October 27–31, 2006 28% 29% 38% 5%
February 24–28, 2005 23% 34% 41% 2%
November 18–21, 2004 21% 32% 44% 3%
July 11–15, 2004 28% 31% 38% 3%
May 20–23, 2004 28% 29% 40% 3%
March 10–14, 2004 22% 33% 40% 5%
  • The same CBS News Poll highlighting regional, political party affiliations and age differences in views. March 12–16, 2009. Nationwide:
Demographic Marriage Civil union No recognition
All 33% 27% 25%
Republicans 6% 34% 59%
Democrats 46% 23% 26%
Independents 37% 26% 30%
18–45 years 41% 23% 32%
45-64 29% 32% 35%
65 and older 26% 29% 41%
65 & older 18% 27% 47%
Men 27% 28% 42%
Women 38% 26% 30%

Pew Research[edit]

The Pew Research Center/Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life survey poll[52] asking:

  • "Do you strongly favor, favor, oppose, or strongly oppose allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally?" (Margin of error three percent)
Date Favor Oppose Unsure
April 4–15, 2012[60][61] 47% 43% 10%
February 22–March 14, 2011[62] 45% 46% 9%
July 21–August 5, 2010[62] 42% 48% 10%
July 9, 2009[62] 37% 54% 9%
May 21–25, 2008[62] 38% 49% 13%
August, 2007 36% 55% 9%
March 8–12, 2006[63] 39% 51% 10%
July 13–17, 2005 36% 53% 11%
December 1–16, 2004 32% 61% 7%
August 5–10, 2004 29% 60% 11%
July 2004 32% 56% 12%
March 2004 32% 59% 9%
February 2004 30% 63% 7%
November 2003 30% 62% 8%
October 2004 30% 58% 12%
  • "Do you strongly favor, oppose, or strongly oppose allowing gay and lesbian couples to enter into legal agreements with each other that would give them many of the same rights as married couples? (Margin of error three percent)
Date Favor Oppose Unsure
July 13–17, 2005 53% 40% 7%
August 5–10, 2004 48% 45% 7%
July 2004 49% 43% 8%
March 2004 49% 44% 7%
October 2003 45% 47% 8%

A further Pew study in March 2006 found that 51% oppose same-sex marriage, with 39% supporting it, and the level of "strongly opposing" same-sex marriage has fallen from 42% to 28%.[63] Pew's May 2008 Survey found that for the first time, a majority of people do not oppose same-sex marriage at 49%. 20% oppose and 29% Strongly oppose same-sex marriage, up 1% from the March 2006 Pew Research Results.[62]

"Bradley Effect"[edit]

Commentators have noted instances where polling data has understated voter support for referendums banning same-sex marriage;[64] some have suggested that there may be a variation of the "Bradley Effect" in which individuals opposed to same-sex marriage are reluctant to express their true views to pollsters.[64] In 2010, a study by an assistant professor at New York University analyzed the previous 10 years of polling data and election results. He concluded that "Polls on gay marriage ballot initiatives generally under-estimate the opposition to gay marriage by about seven percentage points" and that the "Bradley Effect" was not a factor in the difference between the polls and the election outcomes.

Overview[edit]

When the Defense of Marriage Act was signed in 1996, only 25% of the American public supported same-sex marriage; support has increased gradually ever since. California's Proposition 8, passed 52%–48% by voters after a controversial campaign in 2008, was declared unconstitutional by two federal courts,[65] and ceased effect on June 28, 2013 after the Supreme Court ruled that the appellants lacked standing.[66] Polling in 2012 shows 59% of California voters approve of same-sex marriage.[67]

After President Barack Obama's endorsement of same-sex marriage on May 9, 2012, among cultural groups, 59 percent of African-Americans in some surveys taken at the time expressed support – up from 41 percent in combined ABC/Post polls from Spring 2012 and the summer of 2011. Likewise, 65 percent supported Obama's new position on the issue. These levels of support, however, have subsided since then.[68] The NAACP announced its formal support shortly after President Obama's endorsement. Fewer whites, 46 percent, approved of Obama's announcement, and 50 percent supported same-sex marriage – numerically (albeit not statistically significant) the fewest since 2010.[69]

In 2013, polling data provided by Pew signifies at least a few trends. Firstly, there is clearly a generational divide on the issue. 70% of Millennials (those born after 1980) support same-sex marriage. This contrasts with Gen X and Baby Boomer respondents. 49% of Gen X respondents (born 1965–1980) support same-sex marriage, while 38% of Baby Boomers (born 1946–1964) support same-sex marriage. Contrasting levels of support are also apparent when considering political ideology, with those who are liberal or lean liberal expressing more support for same-sex marriage than those who are conservative or lean conservative.[68]

Concerning religion, a majority of Catholics (both white and Hispanic) support same-sex marriage, as do a majority of those who are Jewish or religiously unaffiliated. Broadly, Protestant support for same-sex marriage is at 34%. Amongst Protestants, however, support varies. 19% of white evangelicals support same-sex marriage, while 52% of white mainline Protestants support same-sex marriage. 35% of black Protestants support same-sex marriage.[68]

Support for same-sex marriage is higher amongst women than it is men. Support for same-sex marriage appears to be identical amongst whites and Hispanics, while there is less support amongst blacks.[68]

Differing support levels are also apparent between polls. Washington Post/ABC News, which asks whether or not same-sex marriage should be legal or illegal, shows that 58% of Americans think same-sex marriage should be legal.[70] However Pew, which was asks whether or not respondents support or oppose same-sex marriage, shows that support for same-sex marriage is 49%.[71] The Pew poll asks respondents to indicate their support or opposition to same-sex marriage, whereas the Washington Post/ ABC News poll asks respondents whether or not same-sex marriage should be legal. Nevertheless, both polls illustrate a similar trend that indicates support for same-sex marriage is increasing, and both clearly demonstrate a generational divide on the issue. Indeed, the Washington Post in 2013 reported, "In the Pew Research Center poll conducted early last month, 72 percent called same-sex marriage inevitable."[72]

Demographic differences[edit]

By age[edit]

Support for same-sex marriage in the U.S.
Age % of U.S. population
18–29 years old[73] 75 75
 
18–39 years old[74] 72 72
 
All adults[73] 55 55
 
40–64 years old[74] 54 54
 
65+ years old[74] 47 47
 

It has been noted that the biggest factor in the growth of support for same-sex marriage and civil unions has been driven by younger Americans, including some young conservatives, who are far more favorably inclined to both civil unions and same-sex marriage than seniors.[citation needed] In one meta-analysis by Jeffrey Lax and Justin Phillips of Columbia University, a majority of 18–29 year old Americans in 38 states support same-sex marriage while in only 6 states do less than 45% of 18–29 year olds support same-sex marriage. At the same time not a single state shows support for same-sex marriage greater than 35% amongst those 64 and older. The result is that even in the state with the greatest overall support for same-sex marriage, those 64 and older will be less supportive of same-sex marriage than 18–29 year olds in the state least receptive to same-sex marriage.[75] This suggests that, over time, same-sex marriage will continue to gain support simply due to the increasing number of more supportive youth and the decrease of less supportive seniors. Lax and Phillips also suggest a "tipping point" effect at which point support for same-sex marriage begins to grow increasingly quickly once a certain level of support is reached by the population. This would explain why support for gay rights has increased more quickly among all age groups in states that were initially the most supportive of gay rights than in states with low initial levels of support.[75]

Pew polling shows that older generations show less support for same-sex marriage than newer ones. Over the years 2001 through 2011, those born between 1928 and 1945 increased their support from 21% to 32%; those born between 1946 and 1964 increased their support from 32 to 37 percent; and those born between 1965 and 1980 decreased support from 49% to 46%. The generation born in 1981 and later was first tracked in 2003, when they voiced 51% support; by 2011, that figure had risen to 64%.[76]

By education[edit]

Support for same-sex marriage in the U.S.
Education % of U.S. population
Post-graduate[74] 71 71
 
College Grad[74] 63 63
 
Some College[74] 62 62
 
All adults[73] 55 55
 
High School or less[74] 52 52
 

By geographic area[edit]

Support for same-sex marriage in the U.S.
Geographic area % of U.S. population
All adults[73] 55 55
 
Rural American[77] 44 44
 

By household income[edit]

Support for same-sex marriage in the U.S.
Household income % of U.S. population
$100K+[74] 71 71
 
<$50K[74] 59 59
 
$50K-$100K[74] 57 57
 
All adults[73] 55 55
 

By political party/affiliation[edit]

Support for same-sex marriage in the U.S.
Political party/affiliation % of U.S. population
Liberal Democrat[74] 90 90
 
Liberal[74] 82 82
 
Democrat[74] 70 70
 
Moderate[74] 64 64
 
Independent[74] 61 61
 
Moderate/Conservative Democrat[74] 57 57
 
All adults[73] 55 55
 
Libertarian[78] 40 40
 
Republican[74] 40 40
 
Conservative[74] 39 39
 
Tea Party[77] 34 34
 
Conservative Republican[74] 28 28
 

By race/ethnicity[edit]

Support for same-sex marriage in the U.S.
Race/ethnicity % of U.S. population
White Americans[74] 60 60
 
Hispanic Americans[74] 56 56
 
Non-white[74] 56 56
 
All adults[73] 55 55
 
Black Americans[77] 39 39
 

By registered voters[edit]

Support for same-sex marriage in the U.S.
Registered voters % of U.S. population
Registered voters[74] 59 59
 
All adults[73] 55 55
 

By religion[edit]

Support for same-sex marriage in the U.S.
Religion % of U.S. population
Jewish[77] 83 83
 
No religion[74] 81 81
 
Catholic[79] 59 59
 
All adults[73] 55 55
 
Catholic who regularly attends church[77] 50 50
 
Protestant[80] 37 37
 

By region[edit]

Support for same-sex marriage in the U.S.
Region % of U.S. population
Northeast[74] 68 68
 
Midwest[74] 66 66
 
West[74] 59 59
 
All adults[73] 55 55
 
South[74] 50 50
 

By sex[edit]

Support for same-sex marriage in the U.S.
Sex % of U.S. population
Female[74] 63 63
 
All adults[73] 55 55
 
Male[74] 54 54
 

By sexual orientation/gender identity[edit]

Support for same-sex marriage in the U.S.
Sexual orientation/gender identity % of U.S. population
LGBT Americans[77] 86 86
 
All adults[73] 55 55
 

By state[edit]

  Recent polls that show a majority of that state's population supports same-sex marriage.
  Recent polls that show a plurality of that state's population supports same-sex marriage.
  Recent polls that show a plurality of that state's population opposes same-sex marriage.
  Recent polls that show a majority of that state's population opposes same-sex marriage.
  No recent poll data.
Support for same-sex marriage in the U.S.
US states % of state population
Vermont[81] 66 66
 
New York[82] 65 65
 
New Jersey[82] 64 64
 
Rhode Island[83] 60 60
 
Massachusetts[84] 60 60
 
New Hampshire[85] 60 60
 
California[77] 59 59
 
Nevada[86] 57 57
 
Pennsylvania[87] 57 57
 
Colorado[88] 56 56
 
Washington, D.C.[89] 56 56
 
Michigan1 [90] 56 56
 
Connecticut[91] 55 55
 
Washington[92] 55 55
 
Oregon[93] 55 55
 
All adults[73] 55 55
 
Michigan2 [94] 54 54
 
Delaware[95] 54 54
 
Hawaii[96] 54 54
 
Maine[97] 54 54
 
Ohio[98] 53 53
 
Maryland[99] 52 52
 
Illinois[77] 52 52
 
Wisconsin[100] 51 51
 
Virginia[101] 50 50
 
Arizona[102] 49 49
 
Indiana[103] 48 48
 
Texas[104] 48 48
 
Alaska[105] 47 47
 
Montana[106] 47 47
 
Florida[107] 47 47
 
New Mexico[108] 47 47
 
Minnesota[109] 47 47
 
Iowa[110] 46 46
 
Kansas[111] 44 44
 
North Carolina[112] 40 40
 
South Carolina[113] 39 39
 
Missouri[114] 38 38
 
Arkansas[115] 38 38
 
Utah[116] 36 36
 
Nebraska[117] 36 36
 
Kentucky[118] 35 35
 
Wyoming[119] 32 32
 
Tennessee[120] 32 32
 
Georgia[121] 32 32
 
West Virginia[122] 23 23
 
Mississippi[123] 22 22
 
Louisiana[124] 21 21
 
1 Poll was conducted from January 29-February 1, 2014.
2 Poll was conducted for eight weeks and ended on February 10, 2014.

While the population of the New England states are generally accepting of same-sex marriages, polls show that the population of Iowa, a state in the Midwest which recognizes same-sex marriage, does not have a majority in favor of same-sex marriage. A poll from Iowa conducted for the Des Moines Register indicates that Iowans are evenly divided over a state constitutional amendment that would overturn the Iowa court decision, with a plurality disagreeing with the decision and a vast majority (92%) stating that the decision hasn't impacted their lives.[125] Polling prior to the state supreme court decision legalizing same-sex marriage place support in the high thirties or low forties.[126] A breakdown of voter opinion by age brackets in Iowa, as elsewhere, showed younger Iowans overwhelmingly supporting same-sex unions; 60% of those in the 18–30 age bracket supported same-sex marriage in an April 2009 poll.[127][128]

Support for same-sex unions does not guarantee state Supreme Court decisions or legislative action. New York voters have registered consistent support for same-sex unions in polling dating back to 2005. However, New York state government did not grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples until July 2011. Similarly, there is robust support in most states for either same-sex marriage or civil unions, but due to past initiatives, legislation, and/or constitutional amendments, these states currently ban same-sex unions. Thirty states currently have constitutional amendments against same-sex marriage. Some of those amendments, such as those in Virginia, Ohio, and Wisconsin ban both marriages and civil unions.[129] However, several states are now considering reversing bans that have recently been enacted.[130] Jon Huntsman, former governor of Utah, opposed same-sex marriage but supported civil unions; a spokesman summarized, "His position on that issue is the same as President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney."[131]

Public opinion on same-sex marriage and unions in the United States thus reveals a great deal of change in a short period of time and significant regional disparity. While New England, the Pacific Coast and northern Middle Atlantic states may support full-fledged marriage, comparisons of polling from a decade past to today reveals significant growth in support for same-sex marriages and civil unions in those regions. Meanwhile polling from other regions show that while support for same-sex marriages or civil unions have increased across the country, the growth of support is not uniform, with a significantly lower level of support occurring in the Deep South compared to the rest of the country.[75] Given the wide diversity of opinions within the U.S., many supporters of same-sex unions believe that the most accurate way to discuss support for same-sex unions in the United States is on a state-by-state or region-to-region basis.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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