American Foundation for Equal Rights

AFER Celebrates Harvey Milk Day & 2nd Anniversary of Perry Case

For Immediate Release

Press Contact:
Amanda Crumley: 213-785-5352
Brandon Hersh: 202-412-9766

Momentum Builds With New Gallup Poll Finding 53% of Americans Support Marriage Equality

Los Angeles, CA This week, the American Foundation for Equal Rights celebrates both Harvey Milk Day and the second anniversary of the original Perry v. Schwarzenegger case filing as a new Gallup poll reveals that a majority of Americans (53%) favor the freedom to marry for gay and lesbian couples. Gallup’s annual Values and Beliefs poll is the fourth national poll in the two years since AFER filed the Perry case to show that more Americans support marriage equality than oppose it.

Gallup poll details >

The Gallup poll is consistent with the results of several other recent surveys. Over the past two years, a series of nationwide polls have recorded a strong shifts in public opinion. In fact, the Gallup poll showed a 9 point leap in support of marriage for gays and lesbians in just one year.

According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll taken in August 2010, 52% of Americans think that gay and lesbian couples have a constitutional right to marry and have their marriage recognized by law.  A poll by the Associated Press and National Constitution Center also conducted in August 2010 found the exact same results. A Washington Post-ABC News poll in March 2011 revealed that 53% of Americans favor marriage for gay and lesbian couples. This stream of credible national polls shows that opinions have evolved and a clear majority of Americans believe that same-sex couples should have equal marriage rights.

Concurrent with the shift in public opinion reflected in these polls, gay and lesbian Americans have witnessed remarkable progress on a number of issues that affect their lives: a district court sided with AFER and ruled Proposition 8 unconstitutional, a district court in Massachusetts found Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional, the executive branch announced  they will cease to defend DOMA, and Congress repealed the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law.

AFER Founding Board Member and Academy Award-winner Dustin Lance Black said,  “Harvey Milk’s vision of equality is now shared by a clear majority of Americans. This bend toward greater acceptance is a tribute to Harvey Milk and his life’s work. As we celebrate his birthday and reflect on the progress made, especially in the past two years, we shouldn’t lose sight of how much work remains unfinished to achieve our shared dream of full, federal equality.”

About the American Foundation for Equal Rights

The American Foundation for Equal Rights is the sole sponsor of the federal challenge to Prop 8. After bringing together Theodore B. Olson and David Boies to lead its legal team, AFER successfully advanced its case through federal district court and is now leading it through the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals before the case is brought to the United States Supreme Court. The Foundation is committed to achieving full federal marriage equality for all Americans.