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Majority Of Americans Support Rights For Gay Coupl


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Majority Of Americans Support Rights For Gay Couples

by Paul Johnson 365Gay.com Washington Bureau Chief

Posted: August 3, 2005 5:00 pm ET

(Washington) Support among American voters for same-sex marriage has rebounded to its highest point since July 2003 and for the first time, a majority favors giving gay and lesbian couples many of the same rights as married couples.

While 53% of those polled by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press oppose gay marriage, 35 percent said they favor gay marriage. That is the highest number of people supporting same-sex marriage since the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court took up the marriage issue in 2003, ultimately ruling in November that year that gay couples could wed.

Following the ruling support for gay unions plummeted and in last year's election 11 states banned same-sex unions in their constitutions.

But, as the pollsters note, the bigger news is the growing support for civil unions and legal protections for gay couples.

Fifty-three percent, the same number as oppose gay marriage, would permit gays and lesbians to enter into legal arrangements that would give them many of the same rights as married couples.

"This is exactly what the right wing is afraid of," Evan Wolfson, executive director of Freedom to Marry and author of Why Marriage matters told 365Gay.com.

"If we stick with the conversation and persist in engaging the non-gay public on marriage equality the pubic will move to fairness."

The questions on same-sex couple rights were part of a broader series of surveys by Pew between July 7 and 17, prior to the nomination of John Roberts to the Supreme Court.

Gay marriage did not figure in the top five issues people believe the Supreme Court should deal with. Abortion topped the list, followed by terror suspect rights, religious displays, lawsuit award limits, and affirmative action.

A consistent majority of Americans (65%) are opposed to overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision establishing a woman's right to abortion. But most Americans also favor restrictions on abortion. Nearly three-quarters (73%) favor requiring women under age 18 to get parental consent before being allowed to get an abortion.

©365Gay.com 2005


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