According to a CBS News poll conducted March 10-14, the majority of Americans support a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.
Whereas in December 2003, 55% of Americans favored changing the Constitution to ban same-se marriages but now slightly more people, 59%, are in favor of the constitutional ban andsupport marriage to be only between a man and a woman.
Some number of Americans – about 33%, support some type of legal status for gay couples, such as civil unions, but still 40% are strongly against any type of legal recognition of same-sex relationship.
In addition, CBS observed how religion and people’s general views on homosexuality play role in shaping view on same-sex marriage.
Based on the findings, religion did play a big role in how people perceive same-sex marriage. Three in four people who consider religion as extremely important in their lives support favor a constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage and three in five think there should be no legal recognition of same-sex relationships.
The findings show that those who believe being gay or lesbian is a choice tend to oppose same-sex marriage and it is observed that their decision on whether to oppose same-sex marriage is more based on how they look at homosexuality itself rather than the rights and the sanctity of marriage. Americans divide on their view of homosexuality: 43% believe it is a choice that people make, and 41% believe it to be something that people cannot choose.
Of those who believe homosexuality is a choice, 64% oppose same-sex marriages and 34% favor civil unions whereas those who believe homosexuality is not a choice, 17% oppose same-sex marriage and 41% favor civil unions. In terms of the constitutional amendment banning gay marriages, 77% of those who view homosexuality as a choice support it.
CBS also observed the views of the two sides in regards to why oppose or favor same-sex marriage.
Among those who oppose same-sex marriage, 72% said they oppose same-sex marriage because they believe it is morally wrong and 16% said because they are concerned of the effect on traditional marriage, whereas the supporters of same-sex marriage raised granting legal rights for gays and letting society approve of gays as their main reasons.
According to the poll, more conservatives than liberals favor the amendment (79% to 56%) and the majority of African Americans oppose same-sex marriage, 67% of them favor the constitutional amendment.
**CBS note: This poll was conducted among a nationwide random sample of 1206 adults, interviewed by telephone March 10-14, 2004, including 984 registered voters. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample and for registered voters could be plus or minus three percentage points. Sampling error for subgroups may be higher.