American Foundation for Equal Rights

Marriage News Blog

Opposition to Equality is Shrinking — And Here’s Proof

In May of 2011, bipartisan pollsters Joel Benenson (of Benenson Strategy Group) and Jan van Lohuizen (of Voter Consumer Research) released a memorandum illustrating that growth in support for the freedom to marry had accelerated. The 2012 elections confirmed this trend when all 4 states with ballot questions on the issue voted to support the freedom to marry.

And it gets even better: an analysis of the 2012 exit polls conducted on Election Day confirm another key insight. Significant opposition to the freedom to marry is increasingly isolated within narrow demographic groups while a much broader and more diverse majority are ready to let gay and lesbian couples marry.

Exit polls show that while voters age 65 or older (16% of the population) oppose letting gay and lesbian couples marry by wide margins, support for the freedom to marry outweighs opposition among voters under 65 (84% of the population).

Even more dramatically, exit polls show that all voters besides white evangelical Christians support the freedom to marry (58% support, just 36% oppose).

In fact, dramatic numbers show that all major non-evangelical religious groups are ready to legalize marriage for LGBT couples:

  • White non-evangelical Protestants: 54% support/43% oppose
  • White Catholics: 53% support/43% oppose
  • Hispanic Catholics: 54% support/35% oppose
  • African-American non-evangelical: 65% support/31% oppose
  • Jewish: 78% support/21% oppose

White non-college graduates represent another small pocket of opposition. While they oppose the freedom to marry by a wide margin (40% support/56% oppose), all other slices of the electorate support it.

Opposition is near universal among Tea Party supporters, but significant numbers of other Republicans support the freedom to marry.

  • Republicans who oppose the Tea Party: 47% support/52% oppose
  • Republicans neutral to the Tea Party: 34% support/62% oppose
  • Republicans who support the Tea Party: 13% support/84% oppose

Moreover, among Republicans under age 30, 51% support the legalization of marriage equality in their state, while 46% oppose.

Finally, regardless of their own position on the issue, most voters believe that gay and lesbian couples will win the freedom to marry nationally: 83% of voters say it will be legal nationally in the next 5-10 years.

Given all the above data, and other data and trends we’ve seen, it is clear that opponents of the freedom to marry are both on the wrong side of a majority of Americans and on the wrong side of history.

Topics: Blog, Polling