Poll: Support for gay marriage hits record high

More than 6 in 10 Americans now back gay marriage, the highest level of support in the 11-year history of the ABC News/Washington Post poll. 

Ahead of next week’s oral arguments at the Supreme Court about whether there is a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, 61 percent of Americans say they support gay marriage and the same number believe that states shouldn’t have the right to prohibit it.

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Thirty-five percent oppose gay marriage. The 26-point divide is the largest gap in support since 2004, when 62 percent of Americans opposed gay marriage and 32 percent supported it. 

The poll also found that 65 percent of Americans believe that businesses should not “be allowed to refuse service to gays and lesbians” for religious reasons. The survey was conducted after intense public pressure forced Indiana and Arkansas to walk back religious freedom bills that critics claimed sanctioned discrimination of gays and lesbians by business owners.

Acceptance of gays and lesbians in a slew of other situations, including their strength as parents and whether they should be allowed to adopt children, also continues to rise. 

Fifty percent believe that gay marriage is a constitutional right, while 43 percent do not.

The court will hear oral arguments on April 28 and is expected to rule in June on whether state bans on same-sex marriages are constitutional. They will also consider whether states are constitutionally required to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.