April 3rd, 2009
03:50 PM ET
6 years ago

Polls: Majority of Americans oppose gay marriage

 majority of Americans don't think gay marriages should be legal
majority of Americans don't think gay marriages should be legal

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A majority of Americans don't think gay marriages should be legal.

Fifty-five percent of Americans questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll conducted in December said that same sex marriages should not be recognized by law as valid. Forty-four percent said gay marriages should be legal.

A Newsweek poll also conducted in December had similar results.

"Women and young people are more in favor of same sex marriage than men and senior citizens," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Americans who attended college are also more likely to favor it."

The Iowa Supreme Court Friday unanimously rejected a state law that banned same-sex marriage. The ruling stated that Iowa's 11 year old law limiting marriage to heterosexual couples went against the state's constitution.

Iowa now will become the third state in the nation to allow same-sex marriage, after Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Last November, voters in California, Florida, and Arizona approved ballot measures banning gay marriages.

But while national surveys indicate a majority of Americans oppose legalizing same sex marriages, they also suggest that most people favor civil unions for same sex couples.

"Same sex marriage is also not an issue that the majority of Americans care deeply about," Holland adds. "During the 2008 presidential campaign, only 16 percent of voters said that issue would be extremely important to their vote."


Filed under: Polls
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. ch

    44% said that gay marriage should be legal.

    That reflects tremendous progress for gay rights over the last 10 years.

    Face it – gay marriage is inevitable so those not in favor should start minding their own business and their own marriages – 50% of marriages end in divorce.

    Maybe heterosexuals should not be allowed to marry considering how they have ruined the institution of marriage with divorce, infidelity, etc.?

    April 3, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  2. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    Why would anyone care? How does a gay marriage affect anyone? Talk about STUPID PURITANS

    April 3, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  3. allie

    I wish I knew who does these polls. They certainly don't come to our part of Michigan or anywhere else that I know about in Michigan. To me, if a priest, a minister, because of their beliefs, does not wish to marry a 'same sex' couple, so be it. But a civil union in the Justice of the Peace office should be their constitutional right so they can expect the same legal rights any married couple may have. It is so simple-–live and let live--there are so many other things to be concerned about that are much more worrisome than two people who love each other and desire to commit to one another and live honorably together.

    April 3, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  4. Gary

    People have to get over it. They are not talking about getting married in a church. All they are talking about having the same legal rights as a marriage/union between a man and a woman.

    April 3, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  5. Joanna

    What's the big deal? If gays want to participate in the agony called marriage, let them! Why shouldn't the joys of divorce be equal opportunity?

    April 3, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  6. Dotty Helms, WI

    So a 2.5% swing in opinon should deprive millions of equal rights? Pathetic!

    at least we can celebrate that only 55% of people are close minded and not yet socially evoloved enough to see that gay marriage is an equal rights issue. Lets all let qo of our staight clique and accept people who are not like us. It doesn't diminish who we are.

    Let us enjoy the 45% who think gay marriage is no big deal!

    April 3, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  7. Bob from Pittsburgh

    Funny.
    the flag depicted here is almost the same as the flag of the city of Cusco, Peru.
    Fortunately for them, there very few gays there.

    April 3, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  8. closet republican

    Count me in as someone that doesn't agree with it....I have no problem with gays living their lives together forever, but MARRIAGE is between a man and a woman...

    April 3, 2009 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  9. Texas

    "I like how liberals always want to put it to a vote and then when they lose the vote (California) then it isn't the will of the people anymore and they take it to court."

    That is a rather interesting comment since that same logic (being used by Republicans) is the reason Minnesota only has one senator seated in the U.S. Senate.

    April 3, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  10. Marc

    Massachusetts, same sex marriage since 2004, the sky has not fallen!

    April 3, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    Oh gee, what a victory for homophobic bigots everywhere!

    April 3, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  12. John R

    The Iowa judges made this ruling based on their values of what's right and what's wrong. Unfortunately their values are not based on God's laws. So our country continues down its confusing path that leads to self distruction and away from the secure road that we could travel with confidence regardless of the storm. How sad.

    April 3, 2009 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  13. JonDie

    In France, a majority of people opposed gay marriage and it was voted down. However, most French support civil union, which is the ability of ANY two persons to form a legal relationship of mutual support (an elderly parent and a child, a childless aunt or uncle and a niece or nephew, two persons of opposite sexes or two people of the same sex).

    Why should only heterosexual couples that sexing each together have the right to have a person who can care for them if they are incapacitated? It's idiotic and it's discriminatory. I bet the insurance couples and the lawyers (who benefit from a lack of civil unions) are behind this.

    April 3, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  14. It is any Wonder?

    NOT THIS AMERICAN. And I am a straight woman who whole heartedly supports same sex couple right to the same access to marriage that hetrosexual couples have. If they are not afforded the same protections under the law, they should not have to pay taxes under the law either.

    Equal rights for all Americans is what Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness is all about.

    April 3, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  15. JC

    It does not matter what the quality is of what the majority wants. If what they desire does not violate the US Constitition, then it can be obtained. The ultimate method being a state constitutional amendment. The people of California have proved this several times.

    This and the other state court victories are fragile and consequential. This will likely cause a renewed backlash against same-sex marriage. States without a marriage amendment will push harder for one. The court victories in MA & CT provided motivation for many states to establish a marriage amendment.

    April 3, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  16. Greg in Colorado

    It is so funny to me that the people that oppose gay marriage are those that are also sleeping with men (haggard) or having affairs. I am a teacher and believe me when i say that the married couples out their are not "living" up to what they call "marriage". To hades with all of the right-wing and may christians really examen themselves and perhaps poke their own eye out first.

    April 3, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  17. ron

    I was flipping through the channels the other night and saw one of those TV preachers; I thought it was a re-run from the 70's or 80's by the way the people were dressed/hair. After watching for a second I realized that it was current. These people actually believe this stuff (not the religion part, this friggan con artists taking their last dollars). And this is somewhere in America right now!!!??!!

    These are the same people that scream "small govt" then say there needs to be a law or constitutional amendment outlawing gay marriage. They don’t' even understand their hypocrisy. On one hand I feel sorry for these people and on the other I am really starting to believe that you need an IQ test to vote.

    April 3, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  18. YakRob

    You know – I've never understood the argument that this issue should NOT be decided by activist judges, but should be left to the people and the legislatures to decide – the question always arises – if, historically, we had left the major civil rights decisions (i.e., voting rights for women and African Americans, segregation, etc.) to the people and state legislatures how long would it have taken for these changes to happen – most civil and equal rights changes are not popular by the majority of people at the time – but this is not about popularity or majority – it is about constitutional guarentees regarding equality. In addition, the civil contract between partners should be just that – a partnership – let the churches choose who they exclude from marriage – let them defend their moral issues with same sex unions, not the government.

    April 3, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  19. Ken

    So...If you don't like gay marriage, don't have one!

    April 3, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  20. simonsays

    As a divorce attorney, I am all for this. It means there's going to be the opportunity for a lot more divorces and more money in my pocket.

    April 3, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  21. Marc in Virginia

    Plenty of homophobes posting today and it's disgusting. Is my gay neighbor anti-family? Uhh.. what does that even mean? My wife and I still plan on having children and I don't think we'll see him fly off the handle when we tell him. People need to mind their own business.

    April 3, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  22. Sherrol in Canada

    Come on folks.........live and let live!!!! Discrimination in any form is wrong.

    Just about every person on this planet has a family member or friend that is gay or lesbian (and if you say no, you're in denial). Did your love turn to hate when this truth was discovered? If it did, you didn't love in the first place!!!!

    There are much, much more important things that need your outrage and pitchforks.....Need I mention AIG and others?!

    April 3, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  23. Really?

    Next, adults will fight for the right to marry children; the right to marry their pets, the right for groups to marry (husbands/wives to have several wives/husbands) should also be granted while they are all on their way to hell.

    April 3, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |