In a new Gallup opinion poll of Americans released this week, a majority of Americans--52 percent, in fact, say they would vote in favor of a federal law legalizing marriage equality in all 50 states. Forty-three percent said they would vote against the law.
Of course, that's never going to happen--because that's not how marriage law works in the U.S. From the early founding of the country, it's fallen to individual states, rather than the federal government, to decide who can and cannot be married and to issue marriage licenses recognizing such unions. Hence the reason that one of the significant arguments against the Defense of Marriage Law (and one that was cited by the Supreme Court in its decision striking down the 1996 law) was that it intruded improperly on an issue traditionally reserved for state control.
Nevertheless, the new Gallup poll results are important to note, especially the breakdown of support amongst different demographic groups. At the top end, groups such as liberals, those who express no religious affiliation and Democrats supported marriage equality overwhelmingly, with respondents showing 77, 76 and 70 percent support, respectively. Other groups with strong support for equal marriage rights nationwide were 18 to 34 year-olds (69 percent) and moderates (63 percent), as well as respondents in the West and East.
Indepdents, those who attended church at least once a month and respondents in the Midwest demonstrated slim majority support for the hypothetical federal marriage equality law, with margins in the low 50s.