According to various polls recently, it appears that the majority of Americans now support both marriage equality, and extending federal benefits to gay spouses.
For instance, the Washington Post (Wednesday 12th) reported that a Post-ABC survey found that this support varies along partisan and generational lines, with 79 percent of 18 to 29 year-olds saying federal benefits should also be given to same-sex couples, while only 46 percent of the over-65’s feel benefits should be extended.
The report also states that only four out of ten Republicans support extending benefits, whereas two-thirds of independents and three-quarters of Democrats feel that gay couples should have equal benefits from federal government.
This report points out that DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) 1996, signed into law by Bill Clinton, was not supported during oral hearings at the Supreme Court by the Obama administration last March, with a previous Post article stating that many judges are skeptical of its legality (27th March). Justice Anthony M. Kennedy pointed out that if federal government only recognises marriage as that between a man and a woman, it ignores states that have come to the conclusion that gay marriage is lawful.
According to the Post, this weakening of the position of DOMA points to a change in the ways people view same-sex marriage and the DOMA legislation, which in 1996 had the support of Congress:
…DOMA’s tenuous standing reflects a change in the nation’s attitudes about homosexuality and same-sex marriage in the past decade, during which majority opposition has flipped to majority support.
This support is mirrored by the Latino community in the States. Labour and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta, on NBCLatino on 12th, stated that in an NBC poll taken last October, it was found that 60 percent of Latinos support same-sex marriage, and in a Latino Decisions survey,
64 percent of Hispanic voters believed comprehensive immigration reform should include the same rights for same-sex couples as for opposite-sex couples. In every sense, Latinos support ending discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people, and the numbers continue to rise.
In the same statement Dolores says:
Let’s each do our part by being open about who we are, by accepting one another without shame or judgment, and by sharing our stories in every way possible. Whether it’s our hijos or hijas, hermanos or hermanas, or tíos and tías, we believe in the same freedoms for everybody, no matter who you are or whom you love.
And finally, according to the Bloomberg news site, a poll shows Calfiornian support for same-sex marriage has also gone over into the majority. The Public Policy Institute of California, a non-partisan organisation, has found 56 percent of adults favour same-sex marriage, with 38 percent against:
“The more that there’s been acceptable and legal change in other states, the more Californians have been accepting, especially among some of those groups that were strongly opposed,”
the group’s president Mark Baldassare, told Bloomberg by telephone, on 30th May.
All in all, it seems that the latest trends are moving towards favouring an equal-marriage outcome for same-sex couples.