Does the average American support gay marriage? And, conversely, how many American oppose gay marriage? Recent polls have suggested that the majority of Americans actually do support same-sex marriage.
Support for gay marriage has been on the rise in recent years. A Gallup survey, the most recent, found that 53% of Americans support gay marriage, reports the Los Angeles Times.
In California itself, the increase seems to be even higher - a CNN survey last month showed that 61% of Americans polled in the Western states supported gay marriage, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The increase in the support for gay marriage seems to turn partially on the increase in support from Democratic and independent voters. Around 69% of Democrats support same-sex marriage, and 59% of independents, according to the Gallup poll. Around 28% of Republicans support gay marriage.
With movement across the nation to legalize gay marriage, including the movement against Proposition 8 in California, if the average American supports gay marriage, what does this mean for gay marriage proponents?
Generally, it's unclear. If (and when) the Supreme Court tackles the issue, the justices will be looking at jurisprudence and case law to interpret the Constitution and the federal statutes like the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
But, popular opinion is something that has swayed the courts before, according to some experts. "I do not believe that any justices base their decision on opinion polls, but that does not deny they can have a subtle effect," Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of UC Irvine law school and constitutional scholar, told the Los Angeles Times.
Of course, the Supreme Court system is built partially to shield justices from following in public opinion. Life tenure and an impenetrable sense of job security can do just that.
So, how many Americans oppose gay marriage? It seems that the numbers are dwindling, and will likely dwindle even more as more average Americans support gay marriage.
- Gallup Poll: Majority of Americans support gay marriage (USA Today)
- New Jersey Gay Marriage Vote Postponed (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
- Navy Reverses Course on Allowing Gay Marriages (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
- Developments in Same-Sex Marriage Law (FindLaw)