A new poll indicates a majority of registered voters are against a federal law that defines marriage as the union between a man and a woman, thus depriving gay couples of certain rights and benefits.
According to the poll conducted by Goodwin Simon Strategic Research and Voter Consumer Research, 59 percent of respondents said they oppose the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits the federal government from offering certain benefits even to legally married gay couples.
The survey also asked people whether they think it’s discriminatory to deny benefits to gay couples; 62 percent of people said “yes.”
DOMA is a 1996 law that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman, thus depriving gay couples of the rights and privileges granted to heterosexual couples, like filing tax returns together and maintaining estate rights after widowing.
The Supreme Court has indicated it will hear oral arguments in United States v. Windsor, a challenge to DOMA, on Wednesday, March 27.
Interestingly, the poll, which was commissioned by the Center for American Progress and Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, found that the number of people in favor of repealing DOMA was not correlated with the number of people in favor of gay marriage.
Fifty-two percent of the American public said they support same-sex marriage -- that’s means seven percent less than those who oppose DOMA.
“With each passing day, more and more Americans are learning how DOMA denies important marital protections and heaps disrespect on married same-sex couples across the country – and they’re saying, ‘Enough is enough,’ Mary Bonauto, GLAD’s civil rights director, told the Washington Blade.
“It’s not surprising that a majority of this country now believes that loving, committed couples in legal marriages should be treated fairly under federal law. It’s time for our laws to catch up with where public opinion is on abolishing DOMA.”
These findings are based on telephone surveys conducted to 802 registered voters nationwide between Jan. 23 and Jan. 27.
More findings from the survey:
- Roughly seven in ten say the federal government should not deny “family and medical leave” (71%)
- Roughly two-thirds of registered voters also say the federal government should not deny other benefits and responsibilities, including the ability to inherit a home or other property when a spouse dies (68%)
- Just under eight in ten (78%) respondents say legally married same-sex couples should not be denied “being able to visit your spouse or child in the hospital or ride with them in an ambulance in an emergency.”
Check out the full survey below: