According to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, a record-high 6 in 10 Americans support same-sex marriage and a similar share say individual states should not be allowed to define marriage as only between a man and a woman. The national debate on same-sex marriage moves to center stage next week, when the Supreme Court hears oral arguments on whether state restrictions on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional.
Courts across the country have agreed with gay-marriage advocates that a Supreme Court ruling in 2013, striking down the federal government’s refusal to recognize legal same-sex unions, means that state restrictions must fall as well.
Next week, the court will be considering whether the Constitution requires that gay couples be allowed to marry and whether states may refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed outside their borders. The rapid change in the law tracks a decisive rise in support for allowing gay couples to marry. It is driven by widespread support from younger generations as well as shifting attitudes among their elders.
The Post-ABC poll finds 61 percent of Americans support allowing gays to marry and 35 percent are opposed. Support is up only slightly from last year but is a reversal from public sentiment a decade ago, when opponents outnumbered supporters 58 percent to 39 percent. In the short and long run, support for same-sex marriage has grown significantly across demographic and political groups.