The nation is essentially split on the issue of gay marriage, according to a USA Today/CNN/Gallup Poll released Tuesday. Of 1,003 people questioned, 48% said allowing gay unions "will change our society for the worse," while 50% said gay unions would be an improvement or would have no effect, USA Today reports. The poll suggests that younger Americans are more supportive of gay unions, as 67% of those between the ages of 18 and 29 and 53% of those between the ages of 30 and 49 said allowing gay unions will have no harmful effect or might make society better.
"I am good friends with a gay couple who are wonderful, responsible, motivated people," says Heather Gravert, 25, a mother of two in Buffalo, N.Y. "I hate to see our society punish people like them by not allowing them to enjoy the rewards and benefits of the longtime commitment that straight couples get
through marriage. Our society lacks a sense of community and connection that couples like them can contribute."
The poll also found a three-way split among Americans regarding whether gay married couples should have legal parity with opposite-sex married couples. While 35% oppose such a policy, 32% approve, and 32% are somewhat indifferent. "I don't see much difference," says Atress Harrison, 62, of Slinger, Wis. "I just figure the people who are sharing a life should be extended the same benefits my wife and I have."