Society

Poll: Americans' Support for Gay Marriage Hits New Peak

| by Robert Fowler

New polling indicates that national support for same-sex marriages has hit a new peak. However, the data arrives amid concerns in the LGBTQ community that President Donald Trump will shape a Supreme Court likely to reverse the landmark decision that legalized same-sex marriages nationwide.

On May 15, an annual Gallup survey found that 64 percent of American adults believed that same-sex marriages should be recognized as equal to heterosexual marriages under the law. Only 34 percent of respondents disagreed, marking the largest margin of support for gay marriage since Gallup began polling the question.

In 1996, when Gallup first polled national adults on same-sex marriage, only 27 percent of respondents supported legalizing gay marriage; 68 percent of respondents were against it. It was not until 2011 that the majority of Americans began supporting same-sex marriage, with 53 percent for and 45 percent against.

Breaking down the data of the latest survey, Gallup found that independents are most likely to support same-sex marriage while Republicans remain divided on the issue. Among independents, 74 percent believed that gay marriage should be recognized by the law as valid; 71 percent of self-identified Democrats and 47 percent of self-identified Republicans agreed.

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The latest data indicates that while conservative-leaning Americans are still split on same-sex marriage, their support for its legality has significantly jumped in the past four years. In 2013, only 28 percent of Republican respondents supported gay marriage, 19 percentage points under 2017's finding.

Overall, 72 percent of respondents said that same-sex relations should be legal. In June 2015, same-sex marriage became national law following a landmark Supreme Court ruling.

LGBTQ advocates have expressed concern that the decision would be reversed following the election of Trump in November 2016. While Trump was viewed as the most pro-LGBTQ candidate to ever be nominated by the Republican Party, Vice President Mike Pence had been a vocal opponent of same-sex marriage throughout his career.

"Trump talks a big game on his support for LGBTQ people, yet he has filled his cabinet with people who have literally spent their careers working to demonize us and limit our rights," Chaz Griffin, president of Human Rights Campaign, told Reuters.

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Shannon Minter, legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, noted that Trump's appointees to the Supreme Court are "going to have a huge impact ... It is so critical that the Senate not confirm any nominee who is going to roll back the clock on LGBT equality."

In January 2016, Trump asserted during the GOP primary that he would appoint Supreme Court justices inclined to reverse the 2015 decision that legalized same-sex marriage.

"It has been ruled up," Trump told Fox News. "It has been there. If I'm ... elected, I would be very strong on putting certain judges on the bench that I think maybe could change things."

In November 2016, Trump asserted that same-sex marriage was settled law and would not be reversed.

"It's law," Trump told CBS News. "It was settled in the Supreme Court. I mean it's done ... They've been settled. And I'm fine with that."

Sources: CBS NewsFox NewsGallup, Reuters / Photo Credit: Ted Eytan/Flickr

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