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New Poll Results Show 59% of Americans Back Gay Marriage

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Wednesday Mar 5, 2014
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A new poll from the Washington Post and ABC found that the majority of Americans now support marriage rights for same-sex couples.

A record-breaking 59 percent of people surveyed said they back gay marriage while just 34 percent said they do not. This is the widest margin tracked in Post-ABC polling. According to the survey, 50 percent of Americans say the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee equal protection, protects same-sex couples and 41 percent said it doesn’t.

In the 33 states that ban same-sex marriage, 53 percent said they back the issue while 40 percent are against it.

The poll also asked the people surveyed if states should pass measures that would allow business owners to refuse service to LGBT people in the name of religious freedom, soon after Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed a controversial bill that would do just that. Nearly seven in 10 people said business should not be allowed to deny gay people service.

Additionally, the poll found that nearly eight in 10 people say same-sex parents can be just as good at raising a child as straight couples.

The poll was conducted in the wake of a number of rulings made by federal judges that state bans on gay marriage were unconstitutional, citing the Supreme Court’s ruling from last summer that struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8.

There has been a large sea change in public view on gay marriage in the last decade. A March 2004 Post-ABC poll found that just 38 percent of Americans surveyed supported same-sex marriage while 59 percent did not. When it comes to childrearing, a 1996 Newsweek poll found that just below six in 10 people believe same-sex parents could properly raise children.

In the newest survey, 61 percent said they support gay adoption - in 2006 just 49 percent backed the issue, and in a 1992 poll by Time magazine and CNN just 29 percent.

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