March 18, 2013 | by Michael K. Lavers
Poll: 58 percent of Americans support same-sex marriage
Supreme Court, gay news, Washington Blade

The U.S. Supreme Court next week will hear oral arguments in two gay marriage cases. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

A new ABC News/Washington Post poll shows 58 percent of Americans now support marriage rights for same-sex couples.

Eighty-one percent of respondents under 30 said they support nuptials for gays and lesbians, compared to only 44 percent of seniors. The survey also found 72 percent of Democrats and 62 percent of independents back nuptials for gays and lesbians.

Thirty-four percent of Republican respondents support same-sex marriage, but this figure jumps to 52 percent among Republicans and GOP-leaning independents who are between 18-49.

The latest survey notes nearly three-quarters of liberals and moderates said they back nuptials for same-sex couples. Only 33 percent of conservative respondents said they support marriage rights for gays and lesbians, but this figure is 23 points higher than in 2004.

The poll further notes same-sex marriage support among all demographics has dramatically increased over the last nine years.

“There can be no doubt that this country is on a one-way road to marriage for loving and committed gay and lesbian couples,” Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said. “This new poll reflects the continued evolution of people’s attitudes through thoughtful conversations over dinner tables and water coolers.”

ABC News and the Washington Post released the poll on the same day HRC unveiled a video in which former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton endorses same-sex marriage.

The U.S. Supreme Court next week will hear oral arguments in two cases that challenge the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act.

The survey noted 64 percent of respondents said the issue of marriage rights for same-sex couples “should be decided for all states on the basis of the U.S. Constitution.” More than two-thirds of Democrats, independents, liberals and moderates said the Constitution should determine the outcome of the cases.

Fifty-six percent of conservatives and 54 percent of Republicans support the aforementioned position.

“This latest poll underscores America’s dramatic and stunning embrace of the freedom to marry, and says to decision-makers—lawmakers, judges, and even justices—that it is time to end marriage discrimination,” Freedom to Marry President Evan Wolfson said. “With a super-majority of Americans now supporting the freedom to marry, and majority support in nearly every segment of the public, the freedom to marry’s time has, indeed, come.”

Michael K. Lavers has been a staff writer for the Washington Blade since May 2012. The passage of Maryland's same-sex marriage law, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the burgeoning LGBT rights movement in Latin America and the consecration of gay New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson are among the many stories he has covered since his career began in 2002. Follow Michael

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