n a milestone for gay-rights supporters, more than half of Americans — 53 percent — say in a new poll that they support gay people's right to marry. This marks the first time a majority has approved the idea in a decade of ABC News/Washington Post surveys. Just five years ago, when George W. Bush supported a federal amendment to ban same-sex marriage, only 32 percent approved of same-sex weddings. The new poll also revealed a stark age divide — young people are much more likely to support gay marriage, while the elderly still resist the idea. Gay marriage has been banned by voters in 31 states, and is legal in only five. But with public opinion — and demographic trends — swinging toward acceptance, are same-sex marriage supporters destined to prevail?
Yes, we just need leadership: "We've certainly come a long way in a very short time," says The Economist, but "the battle over gay marriage is not over." The crucial next step is for a president to take a stand instead of "cowering behind support for states' rights and civil unions." This won't be as hard as it once was, because the unmistakeable upward trend in support for same-sex weddings makes the issue "a political winner for pro-gay-rights Democrats."
"Gay marriage: Let them wed? Most say yes"
No, this poll is bogus: "The only poll that counts is a free and fair vote on the part of the people," says Brian Brown, who heads the National Organization for Marriage, as quoted by The Washington Post. "We've seen these biased polls time and time again — right before votes in which same-sex marriage is rejected. It's absurd. The people of this country have not changed their opinion about marriage."
"Slim majority back gay marriage, Post-ABC poll says"
Opponents of gay marriage remain powerful: This probably won't make much of a difference in the short term, says Alex Pareene at Salon, "because the people who don't support it really don't support it, and people who really care about opposing things make a pretty good base of political support." And not everyone who supports something cares enough to fight for it. After all, most Americans "also support taxing the hell out of rich people and instituting a single-payer health-care system," and look where those initiatives ended up.
"Most Americans now support gay marriage"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why I'm a pro-life liberal
- If a nuclear bomb exploded in downtown Washington, what should you do?
- 31 TV shows to watch in 2014
- He said he was leaving. She ignored him.
- 10 things you need to know today: April 16, 2014
- How to be more satisfied with your life, according to science
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Israel and Russia are getting along. Have the neocons noticed?
- Can these 4 couples really afford their dream houses?
- Why we can't stop procrastinating, according to science
Subscribe to the Week