Every State Showing Gains in Public Support for Same-Sex Marriage

For Immediate Release
April 5, 2013

Laura Rodriguez, lrodriguez@rabengroup.com, (310) 956-2425
Donald Gatlin, dgatlin@rabengroup.com, (202) 821-7923

Majority support in 12 states and DC; 13 additional states within 5 percentage points of majority support.

LOS ANGELES— Every state has seen increases in support for same-sex marriage over the last eight years, according to new analysis by Williams Institute Public Opinion Project Director, Andrew Flores; and Williams Senior Scholar of Public Policy, Scott Barclay.

“Public Support for Marriage for Same-sex Couples by State,” examines public support for same-sex marriage, by state, and reveals the current position of each state’s general population on the legality of same-sex marriage, how public opinion differs across the fifty states and the District of Columbia, and the change in public opinion since 2004.

Main findings from the report include:

•  By the end of 2012, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, and the District of Columbia had support for same-sex marriage at or above 50 percent.

• Of these 12 states, all currently perform marriages, civil unions, or domestic partnerships for same-sex couples.

• Alaska, Arizona, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and South Dakota are currently within five percentage points of majority support.

• In the last eight years, every state has increased in its support for marriage for same-sex couples with an average increase of 13.6 percent.

• If present public opinion trends continue, another eight states will be above 50 percent support by the end of 2014.

Recently, support for same-sex marriage has increased at a rapid pace. Since 2009, legislative majorities in six states – Maine, Maryland, New York, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington – have passed laws introducing same-sex marriage and, over that same time period, legislatures in five additional states – Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, and Rhode Island – introduced civil unions or domestic partnerships for same-sex couples.

However, despite increasing levels of support for same-sex marriage across the country, a notable disparity still exists across state boundaries. Research revealed a 31 percent difference between the lowest level of support found in a state and the highest. These marked differences have important consequences for predicting the outcome of future legislative activities and statewide initiatives around the issue.

Click here for the full report.