Public support for same sex marriage has hit a new high as Americans increasingly see homosexuality not as a choice but as a way some people are, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. The poll shows that 58-percent of Americans now believe it should be legal for gay and lesbian couples to get married; 36-percent say it should be illegal. Public attitudes toward gay marriage are a mirror image of what they were a decade ago: in 2003, 37-percent favored gay nuptials, and 55-percent opposed them. The Supreme Court takes up the issue of gay marriage next week, and nearly two-thirds of all Americans say the matter should be decided for all states on the basis of the U.S. Constitution, not with each state making its own laws. Among young adults age 18 to 29, support for gay marriage is overwhelming, hitting a record high of 81-percent in the new poll. Support has also been increasing among older adults; however, those aged 65 years old and up remain opposed, on balance: 44-percent say same-sex marriage should be legal; 50-percent say illegal. A slim majority of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents under 50 years old now support gay marriage. Nearly seven in 10 of those aged 65 and up oppose it, although that is down from more than eight in 10 just four years ago. There has been a related movement in public opinion about homosexuality. Fully 62-percent of Americans now say being gay is just the way some people are, not something people choose to be. About 20 years ago, fewer than half of the public said so. In the current data, about three-quarters of those who do not see homosexuality as a choice support gay marriage, with most supporting it “strongly.” More than two-thirds of those who see it as a choice oppose gay marriage, with almost all intensely against it. Currently, gay marriage is legal in only nine states and the District of Columbia, but public views are more similar than not across state lines. In the states that allow gay marriage, 68-percent say such same-sex marriages should be legal, but so to do 56-percent of those in states where the practice is not legal. Intensity on the matter is, however, different in those states. In places where gay marriage is legal, 52 percent feel strongly that it should be. That falls to 39-percent feeling strongly that it should be legal in states where it currently is not. The Washington Post-ABC News poll was conducted March 7 to 10, among a random national sample of 1,001 adults. The margin of sampling error for the full survey is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. Interactive poll results and complete question wording is available at the source.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced her support for same sex marriage Monday, putting her in line with other potential Democratic presidential candidates on a social issue that is rapidly gaining broad public approval in America. Clinton made the announcement in an online video released Monday morning by the gay rights advocacy group Human Rights Campaign. She says in the six-minute video that gays and lesbians are “full and equal citizens and deserve the rights of citizenship,” adding, “That includes marriage.” Clinton said that she backs gay marriage both “personally and as a matter of policy and law.” Clinton’s announcement is certain to further fuel the already rampant speculation that she is considering another run for president in 2016. Other possible Democratic contenders — including Vice-President Joe Biden, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley — all back the right of same sex couples to marry. Polls (like the aforementioned Washington Post-ABC News poll) show that public opinion on gay marriage has shifted perhaps more rapidly than on any other major issue in recent times. In Gallup polling last November, 53-percent of adult Americans said same-sex marriages should be granted the same status as traditional marriages, while 46-percent felt they should not be valid. In 1996, when Gallup first asked about gay marriages, 27-percent felt they should be valid. The shift among the major political parties has been equally swift. During the 2008 presidential campaign, Clinton and rival Barack Obama both backed civil unions for gay couples, but not same-sex marriage. In the lead-up to the 2012 election, Obama announced his support for gay marriage and Democrats backed the right of same-sex couples to wed in their party’s official platform. The White House welcomed Clinton’s announcement, saying it meant Clinton’s views on the issue were now in line with Obama’s. “The president believes that anytime a public official of stature steps forward to embrace a commitment that he shares to equality, he thinks it’s a good thing,” said White House spokesman Jay Carney. The Republican Party officially opposes gay marriage, though several high profile Republicans have publicly backed the right of same sex couples to wed. On Friday, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman became the first Republican senator to announce his support for gay marriage, saying he had a change of heart after learning that his son is gay. More than 100 Republicans also submitted a “friend of the court” brief to the Supreme Court asking the justices to overturn California’s ban on same sex marriage. The court will hear oral arguments on California’s Proposition 8 measure next week. Justices will also hear arguments in a related case concerning the constitutionality of a provision in the Defence of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between one man and one woman. President Bill Clinton signed the act into law in 1996, but said earlier this month that he now believes it is unconstitutional and should be overturned. Despite holding back in supporting same sex marriage, Hillary Clinton was a strong support of gay rights, both in the U.S. and abroad, during her tenure at the State Department. Under her watch, the U.S. government made it official policy to promote gay rights around the world.
In Sacramento, California, a man was hit with a baseball bat and called gay slurs last night in midtown. Sacramento police are investigating the assault that happened about 10:15 pm at 20th and D streets. Police said a man in his 40s was walking home when he was approached by a young man. The man in his twenties made derogatory homosexual comments toward the older man. Then, another young man also made anti-gay comments while striking the older man in the lower part of his body with a bat. The first man who made the gay comments was described as black, heavy-set, 24-28 years old, about 5 feet 10 inches tall. He was wearing a dark green, tee shirt and blue jeans. The man wielding the baseball bat was described as a white, 28-34 years old, about 5 feet 9 inches tall with a medium build. He was wearing a dark-colored tee shirt and pants.
Also in California, pop singer Michelle Shocked pretty much shocked her audience at Yoshi's San Francisco on Sunday night by saying, among other things, "God hates fags and you can tweet that I said so." This came about halfway through the show, in the middle of a rant against gay marriage, tweeted James Patterson, who was at the show. Something like two-thirds of the crowd walked out. Even more horrified than the audience were Yoshi's staffers. The manager, assistant club manager, and sound production engineer who were on duty shut down the show immediately, turning off the lights and cutting off the microphone, said Yoshi's representative Lisa Bautista. An apology was made to the audience and refunds were offered. Tweeting started immediately. Patterson thought most fans were offended, but some seemed to think her statements were made ironically, but "If it was intended to be satire or irony, she misread the audience reaction in San Francisco."