The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
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New Poll Shows Record Intensity in Support for the Freedom to Marry

Strong Majority of African-Americans Now Back Marriage for Gay and Lesbian Couples


A new poll released today by ABC and the Washington Post shows that the number of Americans who strongly support same-sex couples' freedom to marry now far exceeds the number of those who strongly oppose. Of the 53 percent of Americans who say the freedom to marry should be legal, 39 percent voiced that they were "strongly" in support. In contrast, only 32 percent voiced "strong" opposition.

The poll also shows that, two weeks after President Obama's embrace of the freedom to marry, a 59 percent super-majority of African-Americans now support the freedom to marry, with 65 percent applauding President Obama's stance.

Evan Wolfson, founder and President of Freedom to Marry, released the following statement:

"Today's poll results confirm that, not only does there continue to be solid majority support for the freedom to marry nationwide, but that - politicians, take heed! - supporters of the freedom to marry now feel more strongly than opponents about their stand. Not long ago, our opponents bragged that highlighting marriage in a campaign would win them votes. But these results show, more clearly than ever before, that the wedge has lost its edge and that the momentum of open hearts and changing minds continues to favor those who favor the freedom to marry and getting America on the right side of history.

"It's particularly gratifying to see the growing support among African-Americans, who, like the President and the NAACP, understand that the Golden Rule and our nation's civil rights commitment of liberty and justice for all really do apply to 'all.' The toxic tactics of anti-gay forces to, in their own words, 'drive a wedge between blacks and gays,' has backfired, and support for the freedom to marry now has a majority among those who know all too well what discrimination, including discrimination in marriage, looks and feels like."

This shift in intensity was documented last July in a polling analysis commissioned by Freedom to Marry and jointly conducted by Joel Benenson, lead pollster for President Obama and Jan van Lohuizen, George W. Bush's lead pollster. That analysis for Freedom to Marry showed that "as of today, supporters of marriage for gay couples feel as strongly about the issue as opponents do, something that was not the case in the recent past." Today's ABC News/Washington Post poll shows that the shift in intensity has continued, and that as of now, there are significantly more strong supporters than strong opponents. Last week, van Lohuizen circulated another analysis to Republican influentials, urging the party to cease its opposition to the freedom to marry and get on the right side of history.

Other highlights of the poll include the following:

  • The percentage of those who oppose the freedom to marry is at an all-time low, at 39 percent nationwide.
  • Fifty-eight percent of Independent voters support the freedom to marry, and 43 percent do so strongly.
  • Sixty-nine percent of adults under the age of 30 support the freedom to marry, and 51 percent do so strongly.

Freedom to Marry is the gay and non-gay partnership working to win marriage equality nationwide. Headed by Evan Wolfson, one of America's leading civil rights advocates and lawyers, Freedom to Marry brings new resources and a renewed context of urgency and opportunity to this social justice movement.