A majority of Americans support federal
recognition of the marriages of gay and lesbian couples, but most
feel that its legalization is an issue for the states.
According to a
New York Times/CBS News
poll of 1,022 adults released Friday, 60 percent of respondents
said such rights should be “left to each individual state
government to decide.” Thirty-three percent said they should be
determined by the federal government.
While opponents of gay nuptials are
more likely to feel this way, majorities were found among supporters
(57%) and opponents (63%).
However, a majority of respondents also
wanted equal treatment for married gay couples. Fifty-six percent
said the federal government should recognize these marriages and
provide them the same federal benefits given to legally married
straight couples. Thirty-nine percent disagreed.
The poll comes as the Supreme Court is
preparing to rule on two cases related to marriage equality. In one
case, plaintiffs charge that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA),
which prohibits federal agencies from recognizing the legal marriages
of gay couples, is unconstitutional. The poll shows that the public
appears in favor of striking down that law. In the second case,
justices are weighing the constitutionality of Proposition 8,
California's marriage ban.