December 23rd, 2008
04:00 PM ET
9 years ago

Post-Prop 8, public opinion on same-sex marriage unchanged

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Public opinion on California's controversial Proposition 8 remains unchanged."]
(CNN) - How have the aftershocks of California’s Proposition 8 - the legal challenges to the states same-sex marriage ban, the protests and boycotts, the controversy that greeted President-elect Obama’s decision to invite evangelical minister Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at his inauguration –- affected national public opinion on the issue?

Not at all, according to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Tuesday.

In June, 44 percent of those surveyed said that gay marriages should be recognized by law as valid, and a slim majority – 53 percent – said they should not. Six months later, public opinion seems frozen in place, at least for the moment: support for gay marriage remains at 44 percent. So does the opposition –- at 55 percent, it’s statistically unchanged from the summer result, given the survey’s margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Attitudes also remain unchanged on the question of gays in the military, with strong continuing support for the lifting of the current ban on openly gay service-members. Eighty-one percent of those surveyed say the ban should be lifted, compared with 17 percent who do not. In May of 2007, 79 percent supported lifting the ban, and 18 percent did not.

There has been a bit of movement on one question: a slight up-tick in those who say the government should “do more to support traditional values”: 57 percent of those polled agreed with that statement, to 41 percent who said the government should not favor any particular set of values.

In 2006, 51 percent of those polled said the government should do more to promote traditional values, while 43 percent disagreed with that statement.

The poll of 1,013 adult Americans was conducted by telephone by Opinion Research Corporation on December 19-21, 2008. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Filed under: CNN poll • Same-sex marriage
soundoff (122 Responses)
  1. Daniel Cabrera


    I wander if Santa Claus will have the marvelous idea to give as special present to each democrat, A BRAIN!, so they can descern intelligently to vote republican on the next elections (if we ever get another elections).

    But then that is too much to ask to the old fat guy, for I think he is fed-up with the politics around the world, specially the CHICAGO-CORRUPTED POLITICAL DYNAMICS ATMOSPHERE, FROM WHERE OBAMA COMES FROM!

    Happy Holidays everyone!

    Daniel Cabrera
    Merrillville, Indiana "

    December 23, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  2. Nader

    9 percent is not a slim margin as you stated. 3 percent is a slim margin.

    December 23, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  3. Greg Pottstown, Pa.


    December 23, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  4. A Straight Man For Gay Rights

    I have still yet to see any coherent argument against gay marriage that doesn't involve religion (irrelevant), "that's how it's always been" (imbecilic), or some non-existent threat to hetero marriage.

    It's only a matter of time, folks. They shall overcome! Miscegenation was once considered a threat to society, too, and it's now become all but unnoticed. Our president-elect is a product of it. Do you really think you can stop gay marriage forever?!? Not bloody likely.

    And given hetero marriage's track record (50%+ divorce rate–and it was only lower in the past because men subjugated women) they have nothing to trumpet about.

    December 23, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  5. John in Ohio

    Wonder what the results would have been if the question was "Do you support benefits for homosexual couples that are identical to those enjoyed by married heterosexual couples?"

    I think people get hung up on the "marriage" part.

    Daniel Cabrera: You're an idiot. Go ask the Wizard for a brain. Insulting the intelligence of others while making numerous grammar and punctuation errors is like an extra special Christmas present for liberal Democrats like myself.

    December 23, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  6. ran

    This issue like abortion is why our country is so divided. There is a simple solution to this issue as well as the abortion one. If you don't want an abortion or against gay marriage then don't have one but do not tell others they can't. Until the far right wing of the republican party gives these ideological issues up they will continue to divide this country. Gays and abortions are not going to go away just because you try to dictate it through some legislation.

    December 23, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  7. Marc PTD

    Well the Democrats obviously don't care much about Gay & Lesbian rights, as was shown in liberal California's recent election results on Prop 8. Guess they don't need the votes these days and their true feelings are freely displayed. My cousin, who is gay, lives in Cali, lobbied hard and contributed heavily against Prop 8, is a die-hard Dem. Hasn't served him worth a darn though.

    December 23, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  8. Loren

    Daniel: Your incredible INTELLIGENCE is *so* showing in your post...which really has nothing to do with the topic of gay marriage *or* gays in the military. Whatever the RNC is paying you to blogstalk, they're not getting their money's worth.

    One could say, "Why let gays marry? Haven't they suffered enough?"

    Seriously...I sincerely hope that the day will come when my gay friends – many of whom have been in stable, loving relationships far longer than many of my het friends – are free to live their lives and show their love as easily as the rest of us do, without having to fear discrimination by people who think the Flintstones constitutes "historical documents."

    Happy holidays to all, regardless of your denomination.

    December 23, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  9. My head hurts

    Since Obama opposes gay marriage should he be permitted to speak at the inauguration?

    December 23, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  10. Really Daniel?

    How can you republicans go out in public much less criticize democrats after the past 8 years? Six of which republicans had the presidency and the senate. You run our great country into the ground and you are still clinging to this delusion that somehow anyone with opposable thumbs and an IQ better than a celery stick's should vote Republican? Why? Don't give me that morality crab! Yes Blago is a disgrace so is Senator Stevens from Alaska. There are horibble users on both sides of the aisle. Here's the difference: Democrats don't run their campaigns on morality. Every year the GOP fools gullible people into voting for them based on "morals" that many of them do no possess. Open your eyes!

    December 23, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  11. Vicki5

    The 55% of people do not want to re-define marriage. That does not mean that they are against equal rights for this societal group. Why, I wonder, are civil unions not good enough. I don't get it. If civil unions would be enough for this group, then I guess they wouldn't have the opportunity to slam their beliefs on the rest of us. It works both ways people. Take the civil unions and be happy with that, leave marraige alone, and quit slamming your beliefs on the rest of us.

    December 23, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  12. Maggie

    This is America.
    Land of the free.
    Home of the brave.

    The very idea that any group in this country is discriminated against should sicken anyone. It's a disgusting, hateful, small-brained thing to do.

    What's next? "Nope, sorry, you have brown hair. You can't marry someone with blonde hair. It's not legal."

    December 23, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  13. Cant wait for Obama to screw up, and see all his faithful followers turn their back on him

    Daniel Cabrera, glad to see someone out there is still inteligent!, and btw I still dont agree with Gay marriage or abortion, neither is right. Marriage by definition is between a man and a woman, and well abortion is just wrong. Im sure some democrat will not appreciate that I voiced my opinion on this subject...but thats too bad.

    Merry CHRISTMAS!

    December 23, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  14. karen

    gay marriage should not be legal.

    December 23, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  15. deb in Colo

    I'm a straight woman...but I DO NOT get why this is such a problem for so many?

    I mean really – most of the gay/lesbian couples I know have been in committed relationships far longer than my straight friends. The divorce static in this country is like 50% – so obviously the state of matrimony doesn't mean that much to the straight folks either because even the "religious" ones aren't that good at it.

    If the term MARRIAGE bothers you – try CIVIL UNION. But I think everybody deserves a legal entity to protect their loved ones.

    December 23, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  16. Matt

    @ Vicki5, who said

    "The 55% of people do not want to re-define marriage. That does not mean that they are against equal rights for this societal group."

    Self-contradict much?

    December 23, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  17. boered1


    I agree with your point except for one minor concern aif ALL marraiges were performed by a religious authority than your comments make sense and should stand. unfortunately the STATE is involved in marriages now and to exclude a group, who previously had the right, from enjoying a STATE sponsered ceremony is wrong pure and simple. I am not nor will I argue the rightness or wrongness of gays, thqat is really a moot point in this discussion since that rightness and wrongness is vested in religious and not secular authority. Marriages are grounded in secular authority by virtue of the the fact that a justice of the peace can perform one. So to make things fair should we say anyone who was married outside a religious authority should ahve their marriage dissolved? Unless you can agree to that you must agree to restoring the rights of the gay community no matter how you feel about the rightness of what they are doing.

    December 23, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  18. Matt

    The legal significance of marriage should be abandoned for EVERYONE. It's a freekin' disaster. Do you have any idea how much money and time and the amount of court resources WASTED on divorces? Let your church call it whatever you want it to be called. Let your justice of the peace marry everyone and anyone who wants it. Let's just get rid of the legal institution of marriage and the tax breaks and all that other nonsense that goes with it. Problem solved.

    Oh, but wait, I hear some protests from some people who are getting LEGAL benefits from it while arguing that others should not share them because they're different...hmmmmmm....

    December 23, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  19. Amber

    Looks like Daniel Cabrera is away with the fairies again...

    December 23, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  20. Anna, ATL

    I support civil unions as a matter of Constitutionality, but leave the term marriage out of it.
    A significant number of people don't see the institution of marriage as a RIGHT or a PRIVILEGE, and never have. They believe it is a Divine Directive; even if they don't always 'follow the rules to a tee", marriage is a sacred covenent to many religious affiliations. Their convictions should be respected in a free society, as everyone's should.

    Give everyone the same consitutional rights tied to the obligatory contract of Marriage between men and women.
    But call it something else.
    It is extremely selfish of the Gay Community, who has fought since the earliest civilizations for the right to be proud of who they are, not to recognize the simple argument against Gay Marriage, and reciprocate this respect they dearly cherish to others.

    December 23, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  21. Ia Guy

    Writing discrimination into the constitution is WRONG no matter how you look at it. It is ironic for the American people who claim to be the leaders of the 'free' world while it's own citizens don't have the same rights. (I've heard Bush say this many times and it's very disturbing).

    Oh, and a vote for Obama is a vote for gay rights. So those that put him into office need your head checked if this is such an issue for you.

    December 23, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  22. Jeff in Costa Rica

    11 per cent seems like quite a margin to me. In any other major decision people would respect a margin of this size. Why not this one?

    December 23, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  23. Mike Philly

    How ironic. Overwhelmingly, the country wants gays on the battlefield to protect them. But they don't want those same people to have the same rights and privileges they enjoy. Selfish jerks.

    December 23, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  24. Ia Guy



    One-sided perspective. The people forced their beliefs on the gay population when it was their constitutional right to marry. I believe it's you that should have been happy the way things were.

    The problem is your term 'group' have to segregate them in every way. What happened to us all just being Americans?

    December 23, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  25. James in Nebraska

    I'm trying to figure out how when a gay couple gets married it hurts me...I can't think of any way that it does. Maybe I'm missing the news stories about gays getting married just to go on murderous rampages.

    I'm not gay; I am married to a woman. If John and Jack want to get married, good for them and more power to them. People need to stop forcing their beliefs on others.

    December 23, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
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