A promising poll by the Washington Post and ABC News that was released this morning shows that 53% of Americans support marriage for gay and lesbian couples. This is the first time in Post-ABC polling that a majority has held this opinion, and it is consistent with other recent polling data that show a trend in increasing LGBT community support, both in general and across specific demographic groups.
The poll was conducted among a random national sample of over 1,000 adults between March 10 and March 13. It is the first in its history to show majority support for marriage in nearly a decade of similar polls—the identical Post poll taken almost seven years ago showed that barely a third (32%) of registered American voters were in favor of marriage for gay and lesbian couples. The current poll also shows that the number of people who feel strongly in support of marriage for gays and lesbians is now equal to those who feel strongly against it. “As people have come to understand this is about loving, committed families dealing, like everyone, with tough times, they understand how unfair it is to treat them differently,” Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry, said of the findings.
Furthermore, a poll released by Catholics for Equality shows that marriage support has gone up 23% among white Catholics since 2004, while 63% of Catholics overall are currently in favor of marriage. Catholics are often considered a swing group because they do not necessarily abide by official church positions on political or social issues, and they are the single most favorable Christian denomination toward LGBT acceptance in America. Catholics for Equality therefore calls them an important “movable middle,” because their views are likely to be affected by further education about LGBT people and issues. Some other demographic groups whose opinions have dramatically evolved include political moderates and independents, men, and people in their 30s and 40s. Republicans, conservatives, and evangelical white Protestants remain among the groups most opposed to marriage equality.
Other encouraging polling data on marriage trends was taken by the Pew Research Center earlier this month, as well as by the Associated Press and CNN this past summer. The struggle of gay and lesbian couples to be afforded marriage has also been increasingly depicted in media, such as in the Crate & Barrel Ultimate Wedding Contest and in personal stories among politicians and civilians in state legislatures where marriage for gay and lesbian couples is being considered.
GLAAD will continue to keep its readers updated about marriage equality trends and will ensure that media reports are fair and accurate in their inclusion of LGBT voices.