Feinstein: Americans are more open to gay marriage
July 24th, 2011
12:37 PM ET
11 years ago

Feinstein: Americans are more open to gay marriage

Washington (CNN) - Making her case for the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Sunday that Americans are now more open to homosexuality.

"As time goes on, what I find is more and more people have gay friends, they have gay relatives," Feinstein said on CNN's "State of the Union." "People are much more forward with their thinking about this now. I think they're much more open to it."

Last week Feinstein introduced the Respect for Marriage Act, which would undo the 1996 law that bars same-sex couples from receiving federal benefits. The California Democrat said the provisions of DOMA, signed into law by former President Bill Clinton, are wrong and unconstitutional. States that allow same-sex marriage should offer the same benefits to homosexual couples that they do for heterosexual couples, including Social Security survivor benefits and the ability to file joint tax returns, she said.

"If a state says, 'Yes we're going to countenance same-sex marriage,' then all the rights and benefits thereof ought to be due to that relationship," Feinstein said.

Feinstein is a former San Francisco mayor who assumed office after the 1978 slayings of her predecessor, George Moscone, and City Supervisor Harvey Milk - the first openly gay public official in the United States.

She said the plight of the repeal legislation "may be a long march," but that it would be a successful one. Yet, the legislation is unlikely to pass without Republican support, despite a recent bump from President Obama's public support for the act's repeal.

Feinstein's comments come on the first day of same-sex marriages in New York following the state law passed in June. New York is the sixth state to pass such a law. Most states ban same-sex marriage, including California, which voted on the issue in 2008.

Although a slight majority of voters now think gay marriage should be legally recognized, significant party divides still exist on the issue, according to a national survey.

A CNN/ORC poll released in April showed 51 percent of registered voters think same sex marriage should be valid. However, while 64 percent of Democrats and 55 percent of independents think it should be legal, only 27 percent of Republicans said the same.

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.

soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Kurt

    Umm no we are not..

    July 24, 2011 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  2. T'sah from Virginia

    Why isn't there no story here about Pawlenty's interview with Candy. She allowed him to "run off with the month" badmouthing President Obama and he offered not ONE solution to the problems nor did he straight-answer any question Candy put to him. All he did was campaign and he sounded like an idiot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    For someone who is low on the charts should not be "criticizing" but should be offering SOLUTIONS that we haven't heard before that DOES NOT WORK!!!

    July 24, 2011 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  3. Sgt Schultz

    Please...why do we always have to circle back to these Culture Wars about divisive wedge issues when we're there are so many more other issues that need to be addressed far more urgently.

    July 24, 2011 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  4. vic , nashville ,tn

    True and false

    Many are open but not in their door step

    July 24, 2011 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  5. gwats

    It's a new day and change is tough for some.

    July 24, 2011 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  6. The Obama Recession Continues Unabated, Obama Depression on the way

    Interesting this buffoon thinks the country is ready for it when even her most liberal state in the country VOTED AGAINST IT! How out of touch with reality can she be???

    July 24, 2011 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  7. End GOPorate greed.

    Most AMERICANS are open to all marriages. It's the self-absorbed few of religious and politcal cults that seem to think they have the right to take away or deny other people their rights – simply because their religion of choice or "comfort level" of choice tells them differently. And that's about as un-American as you can get.

    July 24, 2011 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  8. Ancient Texan

    If Feinstein's claim was put to a nationwide vote, she would be surprised when the vote was 75 to 25% against her belief. I strongly believe there should be equal protection and some form of civil unions for gays-lesbians.

    July 24, 2011 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  9. Matt

    Somebody from San Fransisco claiming to be in touch with what American values are? What a joke.

    July 24, 2011 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |