Public Opinion Gay For Marriage Equality

And the tide of progress marches onward:

More than half of Americans say it should be legal for gays and lesbians to marry, a first in nearly a decade of polls by ABC News and The Washington Post. This milestone result caps a dramatic, long-term shift in public attitudes. From a low of 32 percent in a 2004 survey of registered voters, support for gay marriage has grown to 53 percent today. Forty-four percent are opposed, down 18 points from that 2004 survey.

The issue remains divisive; as many adults “strongly” oppose gay marriage as strongly support it, and opposition rises to more than 2-1 among Republicans and conservatives and 3-1 among evangelical white Protestants, a core conservative group. But opposition to gay marriage has weakened in these groups from its levels a few years ago, and support has grown sharply among others – notably, among Catholics, political moderates, people in their 30s and 40s and men.

People under 40 are for equality, those over 50 are generally against, with the fortysomething’s closely aligned. As I said yesterday, this is one of the issues the right will have to moderate on to improve its disastrous standing with younger voters. But I think the main practical impact here is that now any federal judges with pro-equality convictions can rest assured that pro-equality decisions will be acceptable to public opinion and not lead you to get immediately abandoned by every elected official in sight. And by 2016, the kind of equivocation on the subject that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton engaged in will clearly be unacceptable to an equality-minded Democratic primary electorate.