LGBT Trends: Is same-sex marriage a Constitutional right?

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series LGBT Trends
Click the graphic to visit the Washington Post website for the entire polling story.

Click the graphic to visit the Washington Post website for the entire polling story.

Majority support for legalizing same-sex marriage has reached a record high, according to a brand new Washington Post-ABC News survey. Almost six of ten Americans (59%) now say they support giving gays and lesbians the right to legal marriage.

How many also say that the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right? What would the framers of the Constitution have to say?

Support for legalizing same-sex marriage has reached a new high, but this support is not equally shared across demographic, religious, and political lines. For example, women (63%) are more likely than men (54%) to support legalized gay marriage. Eight of ten religiously unaffiliated Americans support it, while just three of ten white evangelical Protestants agree. Eighty-two percent of liberals support legalized same-sex marriage; only 39% of conservatives feel the same way.

Obviously, the U.S. Constitution doesn’t say anything explicitly about same-sex marriage. Judicial interpretations of the U.S. Constitution strive to divine the founders’ original intent, or view the document as a “living constitution” that changes according to the times in which it is interpreted.

Whether the Constitution is a living document or it should be strictly construed, most Americans have an opinion about whether or not it supports legalized same-sex marriage. Here’s the exact wording of the poll question. What’s your answer?

“Regardless of your own preference on the issue, do you think that the part of the U.S. Constitution providing Americans with equal protection under the law does or does not give gays and lesbians the legal right to marry?”

Half of Americans (50%) say that equal protection under the law does give the right for same-sex couples to marry, while 41% say it does not. (The rest didn’t have an opinion.) Here, we see the same pattern we saw before—a lack of agreement about this issue across demographic, religious, and political boundaries.

Do you support or oppose same-sex marriage?

Do you think the Constitution does or does not give the right for same-sex marriage>

What would the framers of the Constitution have to say?

Series Navigation<< LGBT Trends: Who still thinks AIDS may be ‘divine punishment’?LGBT Trends: ‘Could you see yourself performing a gay wedding?’ >>
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