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Americans closely
divided over constitutional marriage ban

Americans closely
divided over constitutional marriage ban

A new poll reveals a sharp split over a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.

A new poll by the Gallup organization shows that as a proposed federal constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage heads to the full U.S. Senate for vote on June 6, Americans are closely divided on the proposal. Asked whether the Constitution should be amended to define marriage as a union only between a man and woman--a move that would preclude states from sanctioning same-sex marriages--50% of Americans say they would favor such an amendment, while 47% are opposed.

Democratic senator Russ Feingold and Republican senator Arlen Specter had a heated exchange over the amendment in a Senate committee before it passed on a 10-8 party-line vote last week. The measure is expected to fall well short of the two-thirds support needed in the Senate in order to take the next step toward becoming an amendment, the Gallup News Service reports.

According to Gallup's annual Values and Beliefs survey, conducted May 8-11, 66% of Republicans favor a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as a heterosexual institution, while 55% of Democrats oppose one. Although only half of all Americans favor a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages, the same poll finds 58% are opposed to granting such marriages the same legal rights as traditional marriages.

According to Gallup, there has been no appreciable change over the past two years in Americans' attitudes about legal recognition for same-sex marriage. As noted, about three in five (58%) still oppose it. Just 39% believe marriages between gay or lesbian couples should be recognized by the law as valid, with the same rights as traditional marriages.

But the current level of support is significantly higher than was recorded a decade ago. In 1996, only 27% of Americans thought same-sex marriages deserved the same recognition as traditional marriages, while 68% were opposed. (The Advocate)

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