A new AP-National Constitution Center Poll finds that individuals who oppose marriage equality — including President Obama — are quickly falling outside of the political mainstream, as a growing number of individuals are now embracing the idea. Support for marriage has exceeded the 50 percent mark in at least 17 states, but now, for the first time, a national poll has found that 52% of Americans believe that the federal government should “give legal recognition to marriages between couples of the same sex”:
This poll comes on the heels of another survey which found that a majority of Americans are also saying that “their definition of family includes same-sex couples with children, as well as married gay and lesbian couples.” The increasing visibility of LGBT issues, positive media representations, and the coming out of family members and friends have all contributed to the increase in support. Significantly, the nation crossed the 50 percent mark on marriage after Judge Walker’s Prop 8 decision, suggesting that his ruling (and the GOP’s quiet response) may have also played some role in changing hearts and minds.
Still, popular support does not necessarily translate into political action or repeal the many state prohibitions against extending marriage benefits to gays and lesbians. Backers of marriage are much more likely to live in large cities on the coast, giving senators from middle America almost no political reason to support the policy. But as the younger younger new voters come of age, and as their older counterparts exit the voting pool, it’s likely that support will only increase — as will the political will to actually do something about it.
The poll also found that 58 percent of Americans believe that “couples of the same sex (should) be entitled to the same government benefits as married couples of the opposite sex.” Fifty-six percent also agree that “Judges should interpret laws broadly, taking into account the broader interests of the nation.”