Obama Stance Continues Shift on Marriage Equality

When President Obama announced his support for marriage equality, as tepid as it was, I said at the time that it would likely result in a shift of a few points in public opinion polls in favor of equality. And it has done exactly that, according to a new poll:

Opposition to gay marriage has hit a new low among Americans, weeks after President Barack Obama announced his support for it, according to a new poll Wednesday.

Less than 4 in 10 Americans, 39 percent, said they are opposed to the legalization of gay marriage, in a new low found in a Washington Post-ABC News survey. Meanwhile, a majority of Americans, 53 percent, said same-sex marriage should be legal — compared to just 36 percent who said the same six years ago.

Half of Americans, 51 percent, said they approve of the president’s recent decision to publicly support gay marriage, while 41 percent said they disapprove.

The endorsement of marriage equality brought the issue more into the mainstream. Such is the power of the bully pulpit. And that’s why the announcement, even with all the disingenuous political triangulation that surrounded it, was such an important moment.

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  • It’s good to see these numbers. Certainly reinforces my view that all the noise being raised against marriage equality is born from desperation.

  • slc1

    In this regard, it would appear that the president’s statement has had a quite significant effect on the attitudes in the Afro-American community in Prince Georges Co., Maryland where opposition to same sex marriage, which was reflected in the votes of representatives from that county in the state legislature, that almost caused the legalizing legislation to go down to defeat. It appears that the views expressed by the nations first Afro-American president has considerably reduced the opposition in PG county such that it appears that the initiative on the Maryland ballot to overturn the law is going to be defeated.

  • valhar2000

    If these numbers are true, why do Republicans keep winning all over the place?

  • Shawn Smith

    Rachel Maddow made a big deal on her Thursday show that support for marriage equality by Maryland African-American adults has increased 36 points in 2 months. It doesn’t seem that unlikely that a large proportion of African-Americans identify with the president, and are willing to follow his support for the issue if it wasn’t a big deal to them anyway.

  • tomh

    It will be interesting to see if the voters catch up to the polls this fall, when Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington state will have gay marriage on their ballots. Ultimately, the issue will have to be decided in court, just as the laws against interracial marriage were, with a decision on whether the current bans on gay marriage are constitutional or not.

  • valhar2000:

    If these numbers are true, why do Republicans keep winning all over the place?

    I don’t think they are. Since 2008, the trend is in the opposite direction, with marriage equality being made explicitly legal is North Carolina, where the election was held on a primary day when only Republicans had a reason to go to the polls (not that it would have passed anyway, probably, but it would have been much closer). Over the last few years, several states have legalized it, including New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, Iowa and Washington. I think things are changing rapidly on this and that we will start seeing those laws being repealed in 2014 or 2016.

  • It does not matter if Republicans are winning now, their ideas have been shown to be lacking and are slowly being replaced with better ones. And never again will people from either side be able to consider the idea that homosexuality is bad by default.

    We have won, being gay is normal and if you refuse to accept that, then you are the deviant, not anyone else. Being a bigot is a choice, a nasty one, and if you want to get along with normal people, you need to stop being a bigot, or get crushed by public opinion.

  • Scott F

    Rachel Maddow had a nice piece on this recently.

  • If these numbers are true, why do Republicans keep winning all over the place?

    If you’re talking about the past, then, of course, the numbers were stacked against gay marriage. If you’re talking about the future, then as the tide continues to turn, more and more Republicans will decouple the gay marriage issue from their platform (quietly and without official comment) thus ditching a losing argument.

  • jaime

    I agree that this is an important moment. There’s a fantastic quote by Dr. King: “It may be true that the law cannot change the heart but it can restrain the heartless”

  • I bet my gay friend in 2007 that gay marriage would be legal in 10 years. I hope I am way off and it is legal by 2013 (or sooner).

  • tomh

    It depends on what you mean by legal. It may be legal in a few more states by 2013.

  • Ichthyic

    And it has done exactly that, according to a new poll:

    polls indicate correlation, not causation.

    just saying you can’t conclude on numbers alone that Obama has has a significant impact.

    could be coincident with the fact that the numbers were already shifting towards support for marriage for all people.

  • sunsangnim

    It would be nice if he used the bully pulpit on other occasions, instead of cowering in a corner when Republicans attack.

  • JustaTech

    Ed: As of this time gay marriage is not legal in the State of Washington (still got some idiots to fight in November). I assume you meant Washington DC (or as we call it, lesser Washington).