Gay Marriage: The South holds out

September 09, 2014, 1:51 PM GMT+0

Nationally opinion is divided, but only in the South do a majority of people not support gay marriage

Nevada and Idaho look set to be the latest states to see their bans on gay marriage overturned by the courts. Gay marriage is now fully legal in many states, including the entire Northeast and West Coast, and federal courts have been issuing a wave of rulings stating that the bans violate the constitutional rights of gay couples. The decisions have been stayed pending action by the Supreme Court, but if the Supreme Court endorses the decisions of the lower courts gay marriage will be a reality throughout the United States.

The latest research from YouGov shows that 44% of Americans favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally, while 42% oppose it. In every region except the South, however, a majority of people support gay marriage and only around a third oppose it. In the South the figures are almost exactly reversed, with 56% against gay marriage and only 31% of people in favor of it.

Support for gay marriage, which had been steadily increasing, seems to have steadied. When YouGov last asked this question in April of this year, 46% of Americans supported it while 40% opposed it.

Asked whether gay marriage harms or strengthens marriage as an institution, most people don't think that it harms marriage. 43% say that it has no effect, while 8% say that it strengthens the institution of marriage. 38% do think, however, that gay marriage weakens marriage as an institution. Most Republicans (64%) say that it would weaken the institution, while Democrats (53%) and independents (45%) tend to say that it would have no effect.

Full poll results can be found here.

Image: PA