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POLL: 53% of Americans Support Same-Sex Marriage

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WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 26: Equal rights supporters demonstrate in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on March 26, 2013 in Washington, DC. The Supreme Court is hearing arguments March 26, in California's proposition 8, the controversial ballot initiative that defines marriage only between a man and a woman. (Getty/ Win McNamee

WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 26: Equal rights supporters demonstrate in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on March 26, 2013 in Washington, DC. The Supreme Court is hearing arguments March 26, in California’s proposition 8, the controversial ballot initiative that defines marriage only between a man and a woman. (Getty/ Win McNamee

Election Returns

NEW YORK (KMOX) — As the Supreme Court begins to hear oral arguments in two high-profile cases, California’s Proposition 8 and the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, a slight majority of Americans (53%) thinks it should be legal for same-sex couples to marry.

Although public opinion on this topic has been consistent for the last few months, it has changed markedly from as recently as a year ago. In May 2012, just after President Barack Obama announced his support for same sex marriage, 51% of Americans said it should not be legal for same-sex couples to marry.

(Read CBS Poll)

  • 53% of Americans think same-sex marriage should be legal, while 39% think it should not be legal. Reflecting how views have shifted, a third of those who now support legal same-sex marriage say they once thought it should be illegal.
  • Six in 10 Americans think the federal government should legally recognize existing same-sex marriages and provide the same benefits to same sex couples as it does to heterosexual couples.
  • While a third thinks being gay or lesbian is a choice, 53% think it is something one cannot change, up from 43% twenty years ago.
  • 51% of Americans think the Boy Scouts should allow openly gay members.
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