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Majority of Americans support same-sex marriage
05.18.2011
Topics: LGBT

Majority also support allowing gay and lesbian couples to adopt children.

Washington, D.C. – A majority of Americans (51%) favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to legally marry, compared to 43% who are opposed, a new national survey finds.

“The PRRI Religion & Politics Tracking Survey is the third national poll in as many months to find majority support for same-sex marriage,” said Dr. Robert P. Jones, CEO of Public Religion Research Institute. “These results are remarkably consistent, despite the fact these recent polls were each produced by different organizations with different question wording.”

The new Religion & Politics Tracking Survey, conducted by Public Religion Research Institute, also finds large religious and partisan divisions on the issue. A solid majority of Catholics and white mainline Protestants (56% and 55% respectively) favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to legally marry, compared to only 23% of white evangelical Protestants. More than 6-in-10 (61%) Democrats and a majority (55%) of political independents support allowing gay and lesbian couples to legally marry.  In contrast, less than 4-in-10 (37%) Republicans and only 34% of Americans who identify with the Tea Party movement support same-sex marriage.

The new survey also finds that a majority Americans (56%) favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to adopt children.

“Solid majority support for allowing gay and lesbian couples to adopt children has been stable over the last eight months. We last asked this question on the American Values Survey in September 2010, when we found that 53% of Americans in support of adoption by gay and lesbian couples,” said Daniel Cox, PRRI Research Director.

Among the other findings:

  • Strong supporters now equal strong opponents. The PRRI survey finds there are now as many Americans who strongly support same-sex marriage as strongly oppose it. One-in-four (24%) Americans report that they strongly favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to legally marry, equal to the number who strongly oppose it (25%).  The Washington Post/ABC News poll also found this parity among strong supporters and strong opponents.
  • Support extends beyond youngest Americans. Sixty-one percent of 18-34 year olds support allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry, but so do nearly 6-in-10 (57%) Americans between the ages of 35 and 49.

Read the report.

Read the Questionnaire, Topline Results and Survey Methodology.

*Results from the survey were based on telephone interviews conducted May 5-8, 2011 among a national probability sample of 1,007 adults age 18 and older. The overall margin of error is +/- 3.0 percentage points.