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(12/17/09) -

Americans Remain Divided on Allowing Gays and Lesbians to Marry

Support for same-sex marriage is higher among widowers, single people and those living with a significant other but not married.

Support for same-sex marriage is higher among widowers, single people and those living with a significant other but not married.

Approval for marriages between people of the same sex in the United States is significant but remains below the 50 per cent mark, a new Angus Reid Public Opinion poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative national sample of 1,001 American adults, 43 per cent of respondents favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally, whereas 46 per cent oppose this notion.

A majority of Americans (53%) support allowing same-sex couples to enter into a legal arrangement which would give them many of the same rights granted to married heterosexual couples.

Homosexuality

A notably high proportion of Americans think that being homosexual is a life choice (47%). Conversely, a third of respondents (34%) think homosexuality is something people are born with.

A majority of Americans (53%) say they know a close friend or a relative who is either gay or lesbian; 46 per cent say they don’t.

Different Relationships, Different Opinions

Remarkably, the poll found that Americans who are widowed, single and have never been married, and those co-habiting with a significant other but not married, are much more likely than others to support same-sex marriage and/or legal unions with full rights.

In the matter of same-sex marriages, support is as follows:

• Living with significant other – 65%
• Single/Never married – 56%
• Widowed – 51%
• Divorced – 38%
• Married – 34%
• Separated – 34%

In the matter of same-sex legal unions, support is as follows:

• Widowed – 76%
• Living with significant other – 71%
• Single/Never married – 57%
• Separated – 48%
• Married – 46%
• Divorced – 45%

Full Report, Detailed Tables and Methodology (PDF)

CONTACT:

Mario Canseco, Vice President, Public Affairs
+604 647 3570
mario.canseco@angus-reid.com