On the eve of landmark oral arguments in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on the issue of marriage equality, a new ABC News/Washington Post poll has just been released which shows that a “significant majority” of Americans — 58% — say gay and lesbian couples should have the right to legally marry.
But there’s even more good news. From the ABC News report:
Most Americans, moreover, say the U.S. Constitution should trump state laws on gay marriage, a question now before the U.S. Supreme Court. And – in another fundamental shift – just 24 percent now see homosexuality as a choice, down from 40 percent nearly 20 years ago. It’s a view that closely relates to opinions on the legality of same-sex marriage.
Intensity of sentiment about gay marriage also shows considerable change in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates. In 2004, strong opponents outnumbered strong supporters by a broad 34 percentage points. Today strong supporters are ascendant, outnumbering strong opponents by 11 points.
The article notes that support for same-sex marriage has risen by an astounding 11% just in the last three years. 72% of Democrats, 62% of independents, and 34% of Republicans support legalized marriage equality. The GOP number may seem small — and don’t get me wrong, it is — but that number represents an 18% increase since 2004. 44% of seniors are in favor of allowing same-sex couples to marry, an increase of over ten percentage points from just one year ago and more than 20 points higher than in 2004.
And this poll again confirms what I and many others have been saying for a long time: if one takes a generational view, marriage equality is a done deal. An astounding 81 percent of adults younger than 30 believe all loving and committed couples deserve the freedom to marry.
I can’t think of better, more encouraging news as the conscience of the nation once again turns to the question of whether or not gays and lesbians should be able to marry the person they love. Here’s hoping the justices of the Supreme Court choose to stand with the clear majority of Americans — and more importantly, on the right side of history — and vote to strike down the unconstitutional “Defense of Marriage Act” and California’s discriminatory Proposition 8.