Friday, December 18, 2009

Poll: U.S. evenly divided on same-sex marriage

moving in the right direction

Poll: U.S. evenly divided on same-sex marriage

On an issue where survey results once registered lopsided disapproval, the American public is now almost evenly divided on same sex marriage -- although approval remains below 50 percent -- according to a new Angus Reid Poll.

The survey found that 43 percent favor same-sex marriage while 46 percent remain opposed.

Support for giving full legal rights to same-sex couples -- the "anything but marriage" status approved by Washington voters when they voted for Referendum 71 in November -- gets greater support.

A total of 53 percent give thumbs-up to "the same rights as married couples" while 37 percent are opposed: 10 percent remain undecided.

The independent poll of 1,001 American adults was taken December 8 and 9, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percent.

The backing for same-sex marriage, according to the Reid poll, is centered among those living with a "significant other" (65 percent), single people who have never married (56 percent) and those who are widowed (51 percent).

Those who are divorced (38 percent), married (34 percent) or separated (34 percent) are less supportive.

Approval for anything-but-marriage rises to 76 percent with the widowed and 71 percent among those living with a "significant other," and is between 45 and 50 percent among those married, separated and divorced.

The Reid poll also asked about factors influencing attitudes, with the question: "Do you have any close friends or relatives who are openly gay or lesbian?" The number answering "Yes" totaled 53 percent, those replying "No" were 46 percent, with 2 percent refusing to answer.

The survey asked "Do you think being homosexual is . . .", with 47 percent answering "Something people choose to be," to 34 percent who agreed to "Something people are born with." Nearly 20 percent were not sure.

The Washington Poll, directed by a UW political scientist, surveyed attitudes in this state last year.

It found that 36.7 percent of those surveyed support same-sex marriage with 29.3 percent in favor full legal benefits.

A total of 21.4 percent opposed any legal rights for same-sex couples, while 12.6 percent said they would endorse "some" rights.


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