Updated May 23
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–With Senate debate on a federal marriage amendment only days away, a new Gallup poll shows that exactly half of American adults support passage of such an amendment, and even more of them — nearly three out of five — oppose “gay marriage.”
The poll of 1,002 adults May 8-11 shows that by a 58-39 percent margin American adults oppose redefining marriage to include homosexuals. Additionally, 50 percent favor and 47 percent oppose a marriage amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The U.S. Senate is scheduled to debate an amendment beginning June 5, with a possible vote to follow around June 7.
The numbers are similar to other Gallup polls in recent years. An August 2005 poll had 59 percent of American adults opposing “gay marriage,” while a May 2004 poll had opposition at 55 percent. Support for the amendment also has been somewhat consistent — it was at 50 percent in March 2004, 57 percent in March 2005 and 53 percent last April and May.
But the new poll shows that opposition to “gay marriage” — as well as support for an amendment — varies wildly according to sex, age, religion and party affiliation:
— 66 percent of Republicans favor a constitutional marriage amendment, while 55 percent of Democrats oppose it. Likewise, 79 percent of Republicans oppose “gay marriage” while 53 percent of Democrats support it. Independents are split evenly — 49 percent opposing it, 45 percent supporting it.
— 55 percent of women ages 18-49 favor “gay marriage,” while 62 percent of women 50 and older oppose it. However, men in both age groups oppose “gay marriage,” with 67 percent of men ages 18-49 opposing it, and 64 percent of men ages 50 and older opposing it.
— 77 percent of those who attend religious services weekly oppose “gay marriage.” By contrast, 51 percent of those who seldom or never attend such services favor it.
— 28 percent of those who oppose “gay marriage” also oppose an amendment.
Despite the relative steadiness of the poll numbers in recent years, homosexual activists have made significant progress compared to a decade ago. In March 1996, Americans opposed “gay marriage” by a margin of 68-27 percent. In February 1999, opposition was at 62 percent.
The new poll included a split sample to test whether Americans react differently when asked about “homosexuals” versus “same-sex couples.” In one sample of 515 adults, Americans were asked: “Do you think marriages between homosexuals should or should not be recognized by the law as valid, with the same rights as traditional marriages?” With that question — which Gallup has used for years — opposition to “gay marriage” stood at 58 percent. When “same-sex couples” was substituted in place of “homosexuals,” opposition was similar at 56 percent. That second sample included 487 adults.
For more information about the national debate over “gay marriage,” visit http://www.bpnews.net/samesexmarriage