Poll:  More Americans favor same-sex marriage
April 19th, 2011
11:09 AM ET
12 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. Johan S

    Not too long ago people thought a person didn't have a right to choose a partner out of their own race.

    April 19, 2011 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  2. Zaaquir

    If 824 adults are more than half of the U.S population, then yes I will say that majority of Americans do favor same-sex marriages. However, after all the polls CNN has done on this issue; they were bound to find a majority out of the HUNDREDS of people they usually poll for this. Instead of doing these Jedi Mind Trick polls, this issue needs to go on the ballot in 2012. This way we can find out if majority of Americans support gay marriages or NOT.

    April 19, 2011 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  3. David

    Obviously a skewed/selective poll.

    April 19, 2011 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  4. Smile

    With all of these vices,one can easily predict the future of America!

    April 19, 2011 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  5. steven

    ah, what they did not say is that this poll was conducted in San Fransisco lol

    April 19, 2011 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  6. Married

    You can disagree without being threatened or uncomfortable. To imply that someone's contrary beliefs make then somehow unstable is irrational.

    April 19, 2011 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  7. KenneyP of Colorado

    I suspect that most of the people who object to same-sex marriages object because they feel that same-sex marriages violates the sanctity of marriage. If that is a true statement then they should also realize that by definition 'sanctity of marriage' is a religious term and thus the government shouldn't be involved. All government issued marriage certificates should be converted into civil union certificates. Then all people same-sex and opposite sex should be allowed to enter into civil unions and marriage certificates should only be issued by religious organizations such as churches, synagogues, etc. Problem solved!

    April 19, 2011 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  8. lupe rojas

    they are so concerned in saving traditional marriage.... next thing you know conservatives will want to start forcing people to stay married. no thanks. I want a choice

    April 19, 2011 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  9. Jim

    Why do conservatives want the government to decide who gets married? I thought conservative values were less about government instrusion? If gay people only represent 3% of the population why does anyone care if they receive the same benefits, rights and privledges? They pay taxes just like everyone else...Sounds like much to do about nothing – another political red hering to get conservatiives to the voting booth. When will they wake up to see how they are beiing manipulated?

    April 19, 2011 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  10. Cheshire

    Who cares. Gay people aren't bothering anyone. And straight people destroyed marriages when they created divorce. More gay marriages outlast any straight one. So I don't understand why people make such a huge deal about it. Half those people have probably been divorced at least one time.

    And as for pot being legalized... I AM MORE THEN AGAINST IT. In California I believe how legalized it is with cannabis cards, is legalized enough. Near anyone can get a cannabis card anyhow, so why people complain about that is strange to anyhow. Almost everyone in my entire family has a cannabis card. Partially why I moved out of California, because im tired of being around mindless potheads.

    April 19, 2011 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  11. Sam

    As a gay republican male in college, all of these negative comments truly make me wish conservative republicans would think about whats best for the country and not what makes them feel uncomfortable inside. I WILL get married and im lucky enough that my father and mother,who are tea party members, support me 100% because they know when it comes down to it I was born this way so why shouldnt I have the same rights as them. Anyways, each generation is more accepting so whatever bill is stopped now wont be 10 to 20 years from now.

    April 19, 2011 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  12. Rob

    maybe the consevitives should pay more attention to their love life instead of obsesing about what consenting adults do in the priviacy of their own home and generaly when they put up stupid things like this there is a trail of money behind it

    April 19, 2011 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  13. Joe

    In order to be fully truthful to most of their core beliefs, I believe the Republican's framing of marriage as "Between one man and one woman" should read "between one man and one woman FOREVER" unless the "forever" part is found to be too difficult... It might also be interesting to take a poll to see how many Republican marriages last vs Democratic marriages that last...

    April 19, 2011 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  14. vincent

    Wow. Isn't this amazing? its a mental disorder. I will never approve of it. Just get them help. America, why is ur credit score more inportant then ur kids? Since when is it ok for a man to marry a man?

    April 19, 2011 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  15. Marie MD

    Fine, you know what, call a civil union so that the bigots can quiet down.
    We are all human but it seems that some of my gay friends are more committed and have stayed togethef longer than a lot of our straight friends.
    That being said where are the jobs rethugs???????

    April 19, 2011 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  16. fayse

    This is an issue, like abortion that the politicians should keep their noses out of. The Tea Party yells about government staying out of our business yet, they are sticking their noses in private social issues. Every election year the GOP drags these social issues out to please the conservatives. These are private and personal issues.

    April 19, 2011 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  17. Matt

    This just goes to show that CNN followers a majority of Left wing, which we all already knew anyway

    April 19, 2011 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  18. ConservaFascists/FUBAR

    51% is a majority last time I checked. The evangelical right are against same sex marriage, yet the people who campaign for their votes(republicans) are a bunch of adulterers. Seems to me that same sex marriages actually work better than heterosexual marriages. I'd like to see a comparison in divorce rates.

    April 19, 2011 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  19. PA Voter

    Not surprised that CNN would publish this poll....Biased all the way. Word it differently and have the poll out of California and the results will be different.

    April 19, 2011 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  20. James Mason

    Just in time for 2012! Another demographic going Democratic!

    April 19, 2011 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  21. bob

    I dont "favor" same sex marriage..I favor liberty. Two concenting adults should be able to make thier own decisions.

    April 19, 2011 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  22. Jake

    without marriage, gay couples are paying higher taxes which fund EVERYTHING! marriage is a business merger (as far as the government is concerned). If you want to make it about GOD, than that is your private issue! liberty and justice for ALL! get it?

    April 19, 2011 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  23. mcore

    Further erosion of the Republican base. And further evidence that the GOP is, once again, on the wrong side of history.

    April 19, 2011 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  24. Pierre

    This is much bigger than just a question of whether or not society should be more tolerant of the homosexual lifestyle. Over past years we have seen unrelenting pressure from advocates of that lifestyle to accept as normal what is not normal, and to characterize those who disagree as narrow-minded, bigoted and unreasonable. Such advocates are quick to demand freedom of speech and thought for themselves, but equally quick to criticize those with a different view and, if possible, to silence them by applying labels like “homophobic.” In at least one country where homosexual activists have won major concessions, we have even seen a church pastor threatened with prison for preaching from the pulpit that homosexual behavior is sinful. This is more than a social issue — ultimately it may be a test of our most basic religious freedoms to teach what we know God wants us to teach.

    April 19, 2011 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  25. Monk

    If this were an accurate pole all that can be said is, well there goes the human race. Let's hope whatever species comes next does better.

    April 19, 2011 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
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