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Thu Oct 23 23:16:14 SAST 2014

Poll finds growing US support for same-sex marriage

Sapa-AFP | 06 December, 2012 08:31
Gay rights activists hold a rainbow flag during a rally to support same-sex marriage. File photo.
Image by: DANIEL MUNOZ / REUTERS

Support is growing in the United States for marriage equality, two polls showed on Wednesday.

According to a new Gallup poll, 53% of American respondents believe same-sex marriage should be legal with the same legal rights as traditional marriage. The figure is back at the same record high it hit in May 2011.

A separate survey Quinnipiac University released Wednesday found high support for same-sex marriage — and a majority in favor of legalizing marijuana.

Forty-eight% of respondents contacted by telephone said they supported same-sex marriage, up from 36% when Quinnipiac pollsters asked the same question in 2008.

Forty-six% were opposed, down from 55%.

Among white Roman Catholics, 49% were in favor — despite strong opposition by the US Conference on Catholic Bishops to gays and lesbians tying the knot.

The findings come ahead of a decision, possibly on Friday, by the US Supreme Court on whether to consider the constitutionality of same-sex marriage, which is legal in nine states but not recognized by federal law.

“It seems pretty clear that attitudes toward same-sex marriage in American society are changing rapidly,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

In October last year, the Pew Research Center found 46 percent in favor of same-sex marriage and 44% opposed, with support growing more steeply in recent years.

Quinnipiac University’s poll also indicated that 51% of Americans think marijuana should be legalized, with 44 percent opposed. Support was strongest among men and those aged 18 to 29.

“This is the first time Quinnipiac University asked this question (but) it seems likely that, given the better than 2-1 majority among younger voters, legalization is just a matter of time,” Brown said.

On other issues, 53% doubted climate change led to last month’s superstorm Sandy, and 47% said David Petraeus was right to quit as director of the Central Intelligence Agency over an extramarital affair, compared to 41% who thought he should have stayed on.

Quinnipiac said it interviewed 1,949 registered voters across the United States between November 28 and December 3, resulting in a margin of error of plus or minus 2.2 percentage points.

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