Washington (CNN) - On the day that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced for the first time her support for same-sex marriage, a new national survey indicates a small majority of Americans backs such marriages, but that there are major generational and partisan divides, as well as a gender gap.
According to a CNN/ORC International poll, 53% of the public says that marriages between gay or lesbian couples should be legally recognized as valid, with 44% not supporting same-sex marriage.
"There are big differences among younger and older Americans, with the youngest age group twice as likely than senior citizens to support same-sex marriage," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Women are also more likely to call for legal recognition of gay marriage than men. And only three in ten Americans who attend religious services every week support same-sex marriage while six in ten Americans who don't attend church weekly feel that way."
The survey also points to the expected partisan divide on the topic same-sex marriages, with support from seven in ten Democrats and 55% of independent voters but just a quarter of Republicans.
Support for same-sex marriages topped 50% in the spring of 2011, and the number has remained consistently in the low to mid 50's ever since in CNN polling.
Clinton, the former first lady, 2008 Democratic presidential candidate and senator from New York, Monday announced that supports marriage rights for same-sex couples, saying that "gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights."
"America is at its best when we champion the freedom and dignity of every human being," Clinton said in a video produced by the Human Rights Campaign, which is the largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy group and lobbying organization in the country.
Clinton had previously backed civil unions and partner benefits for same-sex couples, but had stopped short of a full endorsement for marriage. That was the position of most 2008 Democratic primary candidates, including then Sen. Barack Obama.
The poll was conducted March 15-17 for CNN by ORC International, with 1,021 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.
CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser and CNN's Kevin Liptak contributed to this report
Next time you do a poll like this, you should ask if people oppose it, instead of asking if they support it.
Why would the gop pay any attention to the majority of the nations voters, that why their going to lose the house. In the mid terms !!!
And the % of Americans that support Gay marriage keeps going up. by 2016 it will be over 70%.
"the number has remained consistently in the low to mid 50's ever since in CNN polling."
Key words: "in CNN polling." ABC/WaPo just TODAY released a survey that says 58%. Far be it from CNN to bother acknowledging its existence though. Checking the front pages of other major news outlets is clearly more research than their trained monkey staff could successfully manage.
1,021 adult Americans contacted by phone...ok, fine. my question is, how did you know they were gay before you phoned them? "Friends of Hillary" list?
I used to be addicted to men, but 7 years ago Jesus set me FREE! (YouTube video) I made the switch from being married to my first wife by ditching her and our 2 sons to go into the gay life-choice. Today I am FREE, DELIVERED and married to a beautiful woman of God. I won't go back! ALL HAIL KING JESUS!!!
Dear jkane – from the structure of your response and the misuse of the English language (their instead of they're and "that why" instead of that is why – I can tell you are demonstrating the attributes of the US electorate that is pulling this great nation down. The founding fathers created this republic on the assumption that voters would be informed and capable of rational reasoning. Increasingly, we are seeing that their vision is crumbling under the pressure of incompetent, unreasoning, emotional outbursts.
Nonsense. Put it on the next Presidential ballot and then get some real numbers.
They might as well recognize marriage between a dog ang s woman
Anti-gays are seeing red, as expected. Their bully talking points are getting too strident and extreme to carry any weight. It is ironic that moral high ground is now held by pro-gay marriage advocates.
i think that is sad what are we coming to