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(03/22/07) -

A Quarter of Americans Back Same-Sex Marriage

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – Adults in the United States remain divided over the legal recognition of same-sex partners, according to a poll by Princeton Survey Research Associates released by Newsweek. 26 per cent of respondents think homosexual couples should have full marriage rights, while 24 per cent support civil unions.

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – Adults in the United States remain divided over the legal recognition of same-sex partners, according to a poll by Princeton Survey Research Associates released by Newsweek. 26 per cent of respondents think homosexual couples should have full marriage rights, while 24 per cent support civil unions.

Conversely, 44 per cent of respondents think there should be no legal recognition of a gay couple’s relationship, up four points since October.

In 2004, marriage certificates were issued to same-sex couples by local governments in the states of California, Oregon, New Mexico and New York. In May 2004, the state of Massachusetts allowed gay and lesbian partners to apply for marriage licenses, the first state-sanctioned homosexual weddings in the U.S.

Civil union and domestic partnership laws in Vermont, Connecticut, California and New Jersey grant same-sex couples all state-level rights and obligations of marriage—in areas such as inheritance, income tax, insurance and hospital visitation. Other forms of domestic partnership exist in the District of Columbia, Hawaii and Maine. There are more than 1,000 federal-level rights of marriage that cannot be granted by states.

In 1993, the U.S. government implemented the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in the armed forces. Under these guidelines, commanders are forbidden from asking a service member about his or her sexual orientation, and troops are required to keep their sexual orientation a secret. 63 per cent of respondents think gays and lesbians should be able to serve openly in the military.

Same-sex marriage is currently legal in the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada and South Africa, and at least 18 countries offer some form of legal recognition to same-sex unions.

Earlier this month, France’s highest court ruled that the 2004 marriage of a homosexual couple is “unlawful.” In its decision, the court wrote: “Marriage is not merely the contractual recognition of the love between a couple; it is a framework that imposes rights and duties, and that is designed to provide for the care and harmonious development of the child.”

Polling Data

Do you support full marriage rights for same-sex couples; support civil unions or partnerships for same-sex couples, but not full marriage rights, or do you oppose any legal recognition for same-sex couples?

Mar. 2007

Oct. 2006

Marriage

26%

24%

Civil unions

24%

26%

No legal recognition

44%

40%

Not sure

6%

10%

Do you think gays and lesbians should or should not be able to serve openly in the military?

Mar. 2007

Feb. 2004

Should

63%

60%

Should not

28%

29%

Don’t know

9%

11%

Source: Princeton Survey Research Associates / Newsweek
Methodology: Telephone interviews with 1,001 American adults, conducted on Mar. 14 to Mar. 16, 2007. Margin of error is 4 per cent.