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Posted May 15, 2012, 9:10 am
The Republican party chairman claims “most Americans” agree with Mitt Romney “that marriage ought to be defined between one man and one woman.” Americans are closely divided on the issue. Various polls show either a slight plurality or majority of Americans support same-sex marriages, although sometimes within the margin of error.
This much is clear: American attitudes have been trending in support of gay marriage for the past few years, as the Gallup poll chart in the sidebar shows.
Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, addressed the issue while appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on May 13 — just four days after President Obama declared his support for same-sex marriages.
Priebus, May 13: On the one hand, you have Barack Obama who is now I guess going to promote and perhaps crusade for this issue, and we have Mitt Romney, who’s been consistent and I think in line with most Americans which is that marriage ought to be defined between one man and one woman.
Public attitudes toward same-sex marriage have been shifting in recent years and major polling organizations now find that a slight plurality — and in some cases a majority — of Americans support gay marriage:
The issue has divided Americans, although the trend is clearly in support of gay marriages.
David Gregory, the host of “Meet the Press,” noted that support for gay marriage has been rising in the polls in recent years — including among Republicans. Priebus dismissively acknowledged that “there are [polling] companies out there calling 400 and 600 people and releasing these results.” But, he added, “if you look at the 32 states across America where people actually ask this question, ‘Do you believe marriage should be between one man and one woman?’ And every single case, including North Carolina, the answer was yes.”
It’s true that voters in 31 states approved constitutional amendments that define marriage as between one man and one woman — most recently in North Carolina. But in August 2010, the New York Times reported that support for gay marriage had increased in every state since the mid-1990s — including those states with constitutional amendments banning it. In fact, support for same-sex marriage reached 50 percent or better in five of the 31 states that have outlawed it. That includes Hawaii, which banned gay marriage in 1998 but now permits civil unions, and California, where a federal ruling overturning the ban is on appeal.
So, there’s not enough evidence to say that “most Americans” agree with Romney — or with Obama, for that matter. The issue has divided Americans, although the trend is clearly in support of gay marriages.