Last week, President Barack Obama sanctioned repeal of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, arguing that to deny same-sex marriages equal recognition by the federal government is unconstitutional. Obama said that the federal government should not stand in the way of any state that chooses to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions. According to a new poll released last week, over half of all Americans support the White House position.
The survey, conducted by Harris Interactive, a global market research and consulting firm, showed that 53 percent of all adult Americans agreed that regardless of their own personal views, "a same-sex marriage legally granted in one state should be recognized as a legal marriage in all other states in the same way generally that heterosexual marriages are recognized across state lines."
Almost half (49 percent) of all adult Americans supported the right for same-sex couples to marry, while 41 percent opposed the right. Only 10 percent of the respondents were not at all sure.
Among the 2,397 respondents (ages 18 and over) of the new nationwide online survey, 358 self identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender (LGBT).
Considering the changing attitude of U.S. citizens towards same-sex marriage and the contrast between states that offer or deny equal marriage rights for same-sex partners today, the study also questioned LGBT adults about their choices where to live and work.
In order to test their attitude, the respondents were asked to assume that they live currently in a state with equal marriage rights.
Below are the key findings of the study:
- Four out of 10 (46 percent) lesbian and gay adults say they would "consider changing jobs if my employer required me to transfer to a state where same sex marriages were not recognized."
- 48 percent of all lesbian and gay adults also agreed they "would consider declining a job promotion if it required me to transfer to a state where same sex marriages were not recognized" and;
- Most significant of all, over 3/4 (78 percent) of lesbian and gay adults said that "other factors being equal, I would prefer a job with an employer in a state where same sex marriages are recognized over an employer in a state that does not recognize same sex marriages.
Harris Interactive conducted the survey between July 11 and July 18, in conjunction with Witeck-Combs Communications, Inc., a strategic public relations and marketing communications firm with special expertise on LGBT issues.
"According to the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, there now are between 50,000 to 80,000 legally married same-sex couples in the U.S.," said Bob Witeck, CEO of Witeck-Combs Communications. "And with the historic new law in New York making marriage equality official this weekend; hundreds more will soon join them."
The respondents were also asked to forecast new trends if same-sex marriage is allowed in more states. Below are the possible outcomes that both LGBT and heterosexual adults believe are "likely (or unlikely) to happen":
- Two-thirds or 65 percent of LGBT adults say "more gays and lesbians will move their families to states where marriage for same-sex couples is permitted." Over half (52 percent) of heterosexual adults agree.
- Three-fourths (75 percent) of LGBT adults say "over time, same-sex couples will be able to marry anywhere in the United States", and nearly half (46 percent) of all heterosexuals concur.
- Two-thirds (66 percent) of LGBT adults believe that "states that permit same-sex couples to marry will benefit economically more than other states", while over one-quarter (27 percent) of heterosexuals agree.
- When asked whether a "Constitutional Amendment to limit marriages of same-sex couples or to prevent same-sex couples from marrying" will be passed, only 8 percent of heterosexuals agreed along with 12 percent of LGBT adults.
Meanwhile, hundreds of gay and lesbian couples came out on Sunday in New York to legally exchange vows for the first time. The historic gay marriage day marked the end of a decades-long civil rights battle.
On Saturday, two grandmothers named Kitty Lambert, 54, and Cheryle Rudd, 53 became the first same-sex couple to legally marry in the state of New York, with traditional honeymoon at Niagara Falls as the backdrop for the historic event.
"We're achieving that real American Dream to be treated like everybody else and be protected under all those laws," was the feeling of the in-love granny during the course of their solemnization into a legally wed same-sex couple.