Brian Brown has dismissed a Washington Post-ABC News poll that shows majority support for gay marriage.

The president of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), the nation's most vociferous opponent of gay marriage, said the poll doesn't count.

The survey released Friday found 53 percent of Americans believe gay and lesbian couples should be allowed to marry, while 42 percent remain opposed. That is a 17 point increase in support over the last five years.

“This is very consistent with a lot of other polling data we've seen and the general momentum we've seen over the past year and a half,” Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, told the Post.

Brown and his supporters criticized the poll's wording, which asked respondents: “Do you think it should be legal or illegal for gay and lesbian couples to get married?” Brown said respondents could become tangled in the word “illegal,” which he said might suggest incarceration for violators.

“The only poll that counts is a free and fair vote on the part of the people,” he said. “We've seen these biased polls time and time again – right before votes in which same-sex marriage is rejected. It's absurd. The people of this country have not changed their opinion about marriage.”

The Post-ABC News polls have used the same language since 2003.

The poll also found nearly equal support for gay marriage between men, who previously were less supportive, and women.