Poll: 51 Percent of Americans Support Same-Sex Marriage

In this Friday, July 20, 2012 photo, Carol Anastosio and Mimi Brown, who were among the first couple to wed under New York’s gay marriage law, hold hands showing wedding bands made by a friend.  (AP Photo/ Fay Abuelgasim) 

With LGBT issues taking up an increasing portion of the national political dialog, a new poll from CBS News finds that 51 percent of Americans nationwide think same-sex marriage should be legal, with 40 percent believing it should not.

The American public’s views on allowing same-sex couples to marry are the same as they were in September, but support for same-sex marriage has risen since the spring and summer of this year.

There is a generational divide on this issue. Young Americans (those ages 18-29) are some of the strongest proponents of allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry. Seventy-two percent of them support it, as do a majority –albeit a smaller one– of Americans ages 30-44. However, support for same-sex marriage drops to 44 percent among those who are age 45-64 and even further to just a third of Americans age 65 and over. In fact, 56 percent of seniors oppose permitting same-sex couples to marry.

The CBS News Poll also finds more women (53 percent) than men (48 percent) think same-sex marriage should be legal.

This past November voters in Maine and Maryland made their states the first to legalize same-sex marriage through a popular vote ballot initiative. As of now, same-sex marriage is legal in nine states in addition to the District of Columbia.

During their regular Friday conference this week, the nine Supreme Court justices discussed whether or not to take up a case involving same-sex marriage through appeals to the Defense of Marriage Act or California Proposition 8. While it was widely expected by court watchers that the nine would announce that they would take a case on the issue, no action was made. The court can still release orders this Monday or next Friday on the matter.

On Friday, the “Real News” panel discussed in detail the debate regarding whether or not same-sex marriage can be protected by the Constitution. 


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