Respect Equality

Almost 6 in 10 support federal legislation protecting same-sex marriage: poll

Support for a federal law safeguarding same-sex marriage is highest among Democrats and Independents.
Protesters gather outside the Supreme Court in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

Story at a glance

  • Nearly 60 percent of registered voters believe Congress should pass a federal law to protect same-sex marriage rights, according to a Politico and Morning Consult poll published Monday.

  • More than half of Republican voters surveyed said they do not support federal legislation that would codify same-sex marriage or abortion access, although a large majority said they would back measures to protect interracial marriage and access to birth control.

  • House lawmakers have already passed legislation to safeguard marriage equality and access to birth control and abortion, but each measure faces an uncertain future in the Senate.

Nearly 60 percent of Americans agree that the right to same-sex marriage should be shielded by federal legislation, according to a Politico and Morning Consult poll published Monday.

Of more than 2,000 registered voters sampled between July 22-24, 58 percent said Congress should pass a federal law to protect same-sex marriage rights. Support for federal legislation is highest among Democrats (76 percent) and independents (62 percent), according to the poll.

More than a third of Republican voters (36 percent) said Congress should vote to enshrine marriage equality into federal law, while more than half (51 percent) said they were opposed to Congressional action on same-sex marriage.

Members of Congress last week introduced the Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) — the 1996 law that defines marriage for federal purposes as a union between one man and one woman — and address a national patchwork of marriage laws by requiring states to legally recognize same-sex and interracial marriages if those marriages are valid in the states in which they were performed.

America is changing faster than ever! Add Changing America to your Facebook or Twitter feed to stay on top of the news.

The legislation was passed by the House on July 19 in a 267-157 vote, with 47 Republicans joining all Democrats in supporting the measure. Seven Republicans did not vote.

The bill would also ensure protections for interracial married couples — a move backed by 83 percent of Democratic voters, 74 percent of Independents and 56 percent of Republicans, according to Politico and Morning Consult.

The bill now heads to the Senate, where its fate is uncertain.

Lawmakers in introducing the measure called it a direct response to a suggestion from Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas last month that the court’s rulings in landmark cases like Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, and Griswold v. Connecticut, in which the right to contraceptive access was established, should be revisited.

According to the Politico and Morning Consult poll on Monday, a majority of voters (75 percent) believe Congress should pass legislation shielding access to birth control. That includes 87 percent of Democrats, 75 percent of Independents and 63 percent of Republicans.

House lawmakers last week also passed legislation to safeguard access to contraceptives including oral and emergency medications, intrauterine devices and condoms. Another bill would protect abortion access following the Supreme Court’s move to overturn Roe v. Wade, which had established the constitutional right to an abortion.

Both measures face an uncertain future in the Senate, where support for either is divided among Republicans.

More than half of registered voters (57 percent) support the passage of a federal law that would protect abortion access, according to Politico and Morning Consult, although support is highest among Democrats (77 percent) and Independents (61 percent).

Just 31 percent of Republicans said they would back legislation to safeguard abortion access, while 59 percent said they would oppose it.