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February 19, 2013

New Poll Finds that More Americans Oppose DOMA, Support Equal Treatment Under the Law

The results of a national voter survey released today by GLAD and the Center for American Progress show an increase in public opposition to the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, as a clear case of discrimination and support for equal treatment for legally married same-sex couples under federal law—even if the individual polled is generally opposed to marriage equality.

Download the polling memo here

View an infographic on the poll results here

The poll, conducted by Goodwin Simon Strategic Research and Voter Consumer Research, and released in advance of the Windsor and Perry arguments before the Supreme Court next month, finds that:

Americans believe DOMA is discrimination, plain and simple. Sixty-two percent of registered voters agreed that “it is discrimination for the federal government to deny marriage protections and benefits to legally married same-sex couples.”

People can oppose Section 3 of DOMA while not necessarily supporting same-sex marriage. A number of Americans believe that DOMA is bad policy and that same-sex couples deserve equal treatment from the federal government, even if they don’t believe that their state should extend the rights of marriage to those couples.

Notably, support for the repeal of DOMA is now stronger among people of color than it is among whites. Sixty-five percentof black people and 61 percent of Hispanic people said that they opposed Section 3 of DOMA, compared to a still high 57 percent of white people. This is a marked reversal from years prior, when polls found black and Hispanic support for the repeal of DOMA to be lower than white support.

Americans in strong majorities believe that same-sex couples should not be denied the federal benefits and protections of marriage. More than 70 percent of respondents believe that all couples should have hospital visitation rights, survivor benefits if a spouse is killed in the line of duty, and family and medical leave.

“With each passing day, more and more Americans are learning how DOMA denies important marital protections and heaps disrespect on married same-sex couples across the country – and they’re saying, ‘Enough is enough.’ It’s not surprising that a majority of this country now believes that loving, committed couples in legal marriages should be treated fairly under federal law. It’s time for our laws to catch up with where public opinion is on abolishing DOMA,” said Mary Bonauto, Civil Rights Project Director for Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders.