The public is increasingly open to ending the exclusion of same-sex couples and their families from marriage.
In past civil rights movements, legislative and especially judicial actions towards equality occurred well before the public expressed complete comfort with equality. Although many in the public are still wrestling with the idea of fairness for all families, public support for marriage equality is growing faster in this civil rights movement than ever before. Also, our resources for judging public opinion are continuing to improve as polls begin to ask objective, unbiased questions, and pro-marriage state legislators are re-elected in astounding numbers.
Use the key resources below to learn more about public opinion supporting the freedom to marry.
NATIONWIDE SUPPORT FOR FAIRNESS:
Majority of Americans Support Freedom to Marry Person of One’s Choice
USA Today reports six in 10 Americans (63%) say the government should not regulate whether gays and lesbians can marry the people they choose.
A Plurality of American Voters Support the Freedom to Marry for Gay and Lesbian Couples
ABC News/Washington Post reports 49% of nationwide adults support gay people's freedom to marry.
Gallup Poll Tracks Dramatic Increase in Support for Marriage Equality:
Nationwide support for marriage equality increased nearly 20 percentage points over the past decade, moving from 27% in 1996 to 46% in 2007.
FiveThirtyEight.com: Fact and Fiction on Marriage Equality Polling
Columbia University: Explicit Support for Marriage Equality by State and Age
Younger Generations Lead the Way
According to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, a majority (53%) of Americans under 30 approve of marriage equality.
About two-thirds (66%) of 2008 college freshman support the freedom to marry for same-sex couples, according to a survey conducted by UCLA's Higher Education Research Institute.
STATEWIDE MAJORITIES FOR MARRIAGE EQUALITY:
A majority (51%) of California voters support the freedom to marry for same-sex couples. [University of Southern California/Los Angeles Times Poll, November 2009]
A majority (52%) of Connecticut voters support the Connecticut Supreme Court ruling to uphold the freedom to marry. [Quinnipiac Poll, December 2008]
A majority (56%) of Massachusetts voters favor marriage equality. [Boston Globe Poll, March 2005]
A majority (61%) of New Hampshire residents support allowing gay couples to go to a Justice of the Peace for a marriage license. [UNH Granite State Poll, February 2007]
By a 49 - 43 percent margin, New Jersey voters support passing a bill ending the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage. [Quinnipiac, April 2009]
A majority (53%) of New York voters support ending the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage, an increase of ten percentage points in just two years. [Siena Poll, April 2009]
Vermonters’ support for ending the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage tops the opposition by a nearly 20-point margin (58% to 39%). [ORC Macro International, January 2009]
60 percent of registered Rhode Island voters support a law that would end the exclusion of gay couples from marriage, with only 31 percent saying they would oppose such a law. [Brown University Taubman Center for Public Policy]
REPORTS ON PUBLIC OPINION:
Marriage Equality Works for Massachusetts: 5th Anniversary Voter Survey (pdf)
Findings of a survey of 600 voters in Massachusetts conducted by Lake Research Partners from April 5–8, 2009 to understand voter perceptions five years after marriage equality was established in Massachusetts.
Special Report on Marriage
The Pew Forum explores the marriage landscape in the United States.
American Values Survey (pdf)
The Center for American Values in Public Life at People for the American Way Foundation conducted in August 2006 a benchmark survey designed to provide a rigorous understanding of how Americans' religion and values impact political views and behavior. Findings refute claims about "values voters."
BACKGROUND: Marriage, exit polls and election 2004
Marriage played a role in the 2004 election, but not a decisive one. The numbers prove there is no national mandate for the religious right's ideology of homophobia.
Evan Wolfson explains why we can't let our opponents slow us down, or let opinion polls dictate the fight for civil rights.
Taking a stand to end the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage does not hurt incumbents or candidates in their elections (pdf). As the number of pro-marriage incumbents and candidates continues to expand, they are winning their elections at overwhelming rates. This report presents various different states', and nationwide, election results as evidence that exhibiting leadership and voting right on the freedom to marry often helps and rarely hurts candidates and politicians.
The Center for American Values in Public Life at People for the American Way Foundation conducted in August 2006 a benchmark survey (pdf) designed to provide a rigorous understanding of how Americans' religion and values impact political views and behavior. Findings refute claims about "values voters."