WASHINGTON (CNN) – A majority of Americans continue to back civil unions for gay and lesbian couples, but oppose legalizing same-sex marriages, according to a new national poll.
The Pew Research Center survey's Friday release comes on the eve of President Barack Obama's speech in front of gay rights advocates at the Human Rights Campaign banquet in the nation's capital. The following day, same-sex activists plan to march on the Mall in Washington.
According to the poll, 57 percent of people questioned support civil unions, a slight uptick, with 37 percent opposed. The survey suggests that 53 percent oppose legalizing same sex marriage, with 39 percent in favor, basically unchanged from a year ago.
The poll indicates that more than six in 10 say say gays and lesbians face a lot of discrimination, more than any other group asked about in the survey.
Exit polls from last November's presidential election suggest that gay, lesbian and bisexual voters overwhelming backed Obama. Many of them had high expectations that Obama would bring results for them on gay rights issues once he entered the White House, and some are now growing impatient with the slow pace of change.
The Pew Research Center poll was conducted in August, with 4,013 people questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 2 percentage points.