Support for Marriage Equality Growing, but U.S. Remains Divided
Supreme Court justices tend to say they are not influenced by public opinion. But they do sometimes take account of state-by-state trends, and the latest developments will not escape their notice as they take up two cases related to same-sex marriage. Support for same-sex marriage among the public has been growing, but the country remains divided. In a Pew poll conducted in October, 49 percent of respondents said they favored allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally and 40 percent were opposed. Four years earlier, in August 2008, the numbers were just about reversed: 39 percent in favor and 52 percent opposed. A strong majority of younger Americans now support same-sex marriage. In a Gallup Poll conducted last month, 73 percent of people between 18 and 29 years old said they favored it, while only 39 percent of people older than 65 did. Respondents appear increasingly inclined to say they are personally opposed to same-sex marriage, rather than say it should be illegal.