Nearly half of Americans support
banning gay marriage, but a majority support its legalization, a new
AP poll found.
The nationwide poll was released a day
after North Carolina lawmakers voted in favor of sending
a constitutional amendment that seeks to restrict marriage to
heterosexual couples to voters in May. A similar question will
appear on the November ballot box in Minnesota.
More Americans favor banning gay
marriage by constitutional amendment, the survey found. Forty-eight
percent of respondents said they favor such amendments, while 40
percent disagreed. Another 8 percent said they did not know.
However, pollsters also found that a
majority of American support the legalization of gay marriage.
Fifty-three percent of respondents said
they favor marriage equality, while 44 percent were opposed.
And a larger majority (57%) believe gay
and lesbian couples are entitled to the same legal benefits married
heterosexual couples receive.
“If they're living together and
cohabitating and are a couple, [they should have] the insurance and
retirement and that type of thing, the monetary benefits,” Dale
Shoemaker, 54, a military retiree from Boise Idaho, told
the news service.
The nationwide telephone survey of
1,000 people conducted from August 18 – 22 also found 44 percent of
respondents who oppose gay marriage called the issue extremely or
very important to them personally. Only 32 percent of supporters
viewed the issue as that important.