Poll: Majority of Americans support gay marriage

Liz Goodwin

A new CNN poll has found that most Americans think gays and lesbians should have a constitutional right to get married. This is the first national poll showing a majority of respondents backing gay-marriage rights.

Fifty-two percent of respondents say there should be a constitutional right to gay marriage; 46 percent say there should not. As polling-statistics blogger Nate Silver points out, the margin of error means we can't assume that a majority of Americans support gay marriage, but it is "no longer safe to say that opposition to same-sex marriage is the majority position, and it is becoming dubious to call it the plurality position."

Silver writes in a follow-up post that support for gay marriage has increased at an accelerated rate over the past year, jumping 4 points.

Popular support for the issue may help explain Republicans' relative silence when a federal judge struck down California's voter-approved gay marriage ban last week.

[Photos: Gay marriage in Calif. could resume Aug. 18]

Judge Vaughn Walker will rule Thursday whether his decision will go into effect immediately (if so, gays and lesbians would be able to start marrying each other again in California) or whether he will stay his decision until the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rules on the matter.

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