For the first time ever, a national Gallup poll released today shows that a majority of Americans support gay marriage. Conducted earlier this month, the poll found that 53 percent of Americans say that same-sex marriages should be considered valid and come with the same rights as heterosexual marriages. The remaining 45 percent disagree. It's also interesting to note that just a year ago, the numbers were reversed -- 53 opposed, and 45 were pro. Also, FYI, the increase since last year came exclusively among political independents and Democrats. Republicans' views did not change, and fewer than 4 in 10 Republicans are supportive of gay marriage. (Maybe that's because they don't believe in change?)
Still, whoohoo! Seems like the score is now Progress: 1, Backasswards-ness: 0. However, I'm not so sure this poll's findings give us cause for celebration just yet ...
It's all well and good that the majority of Americans are down with gay marriage. It's fabulous, really! We have a lot of different people and organizations to thank for influencing public opinion, from Ellen DeGeneres to Lady Gaga, the Human Rights Campaign, U.S. Congressman Barney Frank, and even Dick Cheney! But at the same time, our government isn't really doing much to reflect the progress we've made socially.
I do give Obama credit for refusing to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in Congress anymore. That's a step in the right direction. But given how rapidly Americans' views on marriage equality are shifting, I say it's time for Congress and our state governments to pick up the pace!
Barney Frank seems to be on the same page, but has a sunny outlook, as he recently told Playboy:
I don’t see anything about gay marriage happening on a federal level. More and more states will go that way, though. When they do, people will see, as with health care and the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” that there are no negative consequences. Places that have gay marriage have had none of the negative consequences that people warned us about ... The divorce rate hasn’t gone up ... Marriage hasn’t lost its meaning ... Overall I think antigay prejudice is on its way out.
Well, I appreciate your optimism, Mr. Frank!
I sure hope he's right, because nothing feels more frustrating to me than hearing that Americans' hearts are in one place, but our government's actions are in another.
Where do you stand on gay marriage, and do you feel like the government (state and federal) is representing your view?
Image via Steve Bott/Flickr