Poll:  More Americans favor same-sex marriage
April 19th, 2011
11:09 AM ET
4 years ago

Poll: More Americans favor same-sex marriage

(CNN) – Support for same-sex marriage has received a boost, according to a new CNN/Opinion Research survey released Tuesday.

The poll indicates that more than half of all Americans believe that marriages between gay or lesbian couples should be legally valid. With 51 percent of respondents saying that same-sex marriages should be legal, it is the first time that a CNN poll has found majority support for same-sex marriage.

Full results (pdf)

Although more Americans agree on this issue, a generation-and gender-gap still remains. Sixty percent of Americans under 50 support same-sex marriage, but only four in ten of those over 50 feel the same. More than half of men are against legalizing marriage between gay or lesbian couples, but 57 percent of women are in favor of it.

There's also a partisan divide on the issue. "More than six in 10 Democrats support same sex marriage, joined by more than half of independents, but seven in 10 Republicans are against it," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

The poll comes out just after Speaker of the House John Boehner moved to hire a conservative lawyer to defend the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in a pending lawsuit. The Obama administration said it believed that DOMA to be unconstitutional and would no longer have the Justice Department defend it in federal courts.

Generations are also split on whether marijuana should be legalized. Two thirds of older Americans oppose it and younger adults are split, with 49 percent in favor of the legal use of marijuana and 50 percent against it. Overall, only four in 10 Americans support decriminalizing pot, which is still more than double the number who favored it 25 years ago.

The CNN/Opinion Research poll was conducted among 824 adults by telephone from April 9-10. It has an overall sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

–CNN's Rebecca Stewart contributed to this report.


Filed under: CNN poll
soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. Chipster

    I seriously doubt that more Americans "favor same-sex marriage." What more Americans favor and have come to realize is that liberty applies to everyone. Even if someone doesn't understand a person's choices, they still have the right to make their own life choices. Someone said recently that gays have the same rights as anyone else – they can marry someone of the opposite sex just like everyone else. Well, that is sort of like saying that Afghani women have the same rights as anyone else to marry as long as they marry the person their parents arrange. Gays deserve the right to marry the person they love and want to commit to for the rest of their lives.

    April 19, 2011 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  2. Whatever

    If u do enough surveys and word them a certain way, then eventually you will get the results you want. It is not a marriage between 2 people of the same sex!!!! If you want to call it a Civil Union than thats fine.

    April 19, 2011 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  3. Daniel

    Until we embrace equality for all, we will not understand what it is to be human.

    April 19, 2011 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  4. SD

    Bad headline CNN. While a majority of people may "accept" same-sex marriage, I find it difficult to believe a majority actually "favor" it over marriage between a man and woman.

    April 19, 2011 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  5. Jeff Burke

    This poll is faulty because the CNN audience is as liberal as Fox's audience is conservative....so barely more than half of the liberals favor same sex marriage.

    April 19, 2011 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  6. Justin

    When will we be able to distinguish religious marriage from legal marriage? The former is about beliefs, the latter is about tax benefits. Why deny certain tax benefits to same-sex couples? Besides, if we're going to deny marriage to certain people because it isn't sacrosanct, then we should deny divorce to those who do marry for the same reason. Whatever happened to "'Til death do us part"?

    April 19, 2011 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  7. Tess

    I can't understand anyone being against gay marriage. What's the big deal? If two people love each other and want to commit to spending the rest of their lives together, more power to 'em. Please, get married; adopt children; pay taxes... Its good for society to have stable families, regardless of their plumbing.

    April 19, 2011 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  8. California Conservative

    Don't be hypocrites, let any and all marriages occur.

    April 19, 2011 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  9. Rudy NYC

    Just because I do not oppose it does not mean that I favor it.

    Legislating morality is something that best avoided in what is supposed to be a free and democratic society. The majority do not have the right to vote on the rights of the minority, either.

    What if your state conducted a referendum that prohibited people from eating asparagus? Would you vote for it, or against it?

    April 19, 2011 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  10. Dave

    I think when most people think of marriage, they think of a relationship characterized by love, commitment, and an intimate emotional bond that forms the ideal core of a family. And as more and more people are getting to know same-gender couples and their families personally, they are seeing that marriage describes what they have just as well is it does for any straight couple. Between that and increasing awareness of the science showing just how healthy and normal these families typically are, I think it's inevitable that the trends in favor of same-gender marriage apparent in this and other recent polls will continue.

    April 19, 2011 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  11. once upon a horse

    not too long ago it was illegal for people of different races to marry and some southern states have just erased that law off their books. It doesn't matter if you agree with a gay lifestyle or not, people should be allowed to do what they wish as long as they are not hurting any one else. All these righties that claim they want smaller government have no problem with the feds sticking their noses in private affiars such as these. CLUELESS!

    April 19, 2011 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  12. The Day of Financial Reckoning is HERE - The Great Democrat Welfare Society Ends

    Sounds like a poll taken on the left coast. Take a poll in the heartland and you'll get quite different results.

    April 19, 2011 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  13. nclaw441

    And if more than 50% believe we should have prayer in schools? Or allow states to regulate abortion? Or if the poll changes back to more than 50% opposing legalized homosexual marriage? What should the impact be? Just wonderin'

    April 19, 2011 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  14. Married

    I don't agree with redefining the meaning of marriage. While I don't care what consenting adults do in the bedroom, to suggest that disagreeing with a lifestyle is somehow phobic of disscriminating is a lie that too many Americans have bought into. Marriage is between a man and a woman and until the majority of homosexuals can reproduce don't call it natural or an evolved form of lifestyle.

    April 19, 2011 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  15. California Conservative

    Was this taken in San Francisco between the ages of 14-19?

    April 19, 2011 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  16. nclaw441

    Tess, what if two people don't love each other, but want to get married for tax benefits? What if the two people are brother and sister, or brother and brother for that matter? Why limit marriage to just two people? How should this issue be regulated, or should it?

    April 19, 2011 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  17. God

    I am not for this, read it in my book. If you believe in me you will follow me, you cant pick things out of the bible that is for you. Either your for me or against me.

    April 19, 2011 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  18. Sarah C

    I believe everyone should have the right to marry who ever he/she likes. If you noticed more of the younger generations are voting yes for same sex marriages. I think parents now are raising their children to not to look at gays differently. They are not different from us. Love is love and no law should be able to stop two people reguardless their sex from having the same benefits as straight couples do. Its not fair.

    April 19, 2011 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  19. Scott

    If I can't marry the man I love than you shouldn't be able to divorce the man you hate

    April 19, 2011 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  20. Lead Baron

    The only people against same-sex marriage are the ones who are uncomfortable with their own sexuality. If you are against gay marriage then don't have one, and MYOB

    April 19, 2011 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  21. California Conservative

    Don't be a hypocrite and allow ALL types of marriages to occur.

    April 19, 2011 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  22. irene

    This is long overdue!

    April 19, 2011 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  23. Joe

    I think most of the objectors don't like the word "marriage". Personally, I don't believe anyone threatens my marriage except me. It's sad that people feel they have the right to force their views on someone else who means them no harm.

    April 19, 2011 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  24. Bessy

    Thumbs up to " Chipster ". I couldn't have said it better myself.
    Keep religion out of this. We do not have to answer to God for choices that other people make. They do.
    This is America and the same rights have to apply to everyone.

    April 19, 2011 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  25. peterpan

    Ds only proves biblical prophecy dat in the end days people wud ignore Gods law and make der own moral values...regardless of what polls says I'm sticking to Gods command.

    April 19, 2011 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
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