A new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds that Americans are split in their reaction to the marriage equality law in New York, with 50% considering the law a positive outcome and 46% viewing it negatively.
Views of the law that took effect this past Sunday differ sharply among age, party, religious, and racial lines, according to The Washington Post. Conducted by telephone from July 14 through 17, the poll found a slight majority of Americans - 51% - in favor of marriage equality in general, an echo of other polls earlier this year. The latest poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
"The age gap is one of the brightest dividing lines on gay marriage and on the New York law in particular," reports the Post. "Adults under age 30 welcome the new law by a roughly 2 to 1 margin. But six in 10 seniors give it a negative assessment, compared with one in three who take a positive view."
Liberal Democrats favor the New York law by 74% to 25%, according to the poll, but those numbers are nearly reversed among conservative Republicans, who view it negatively by 71% to 26%. White evangelical Protestants views the law negatively by 71% to 25%, while white nonevangelical Protestants view the law favorably by 63% to 34%. Catholics view the law favorably by 59% to 38%, although support is split among those who attend Mass weekly.
"Among African Americans, another loyal segment of the Democratic party coalition, more than six in 10 say the law is a negative development, while roughly one in three see it positively," reports the Post.
Advocates for the marriage equality law in New York, including Gov. Andrew Cuomo, have said it has potential to spark momentum in other states. Last week, Maryland governor Martin O'Malley, who leads a state with large Catholic and African-American populations, said he would make marriage equality one of his legislative priorities in 2012. The governor cited the example of the New York law in striking a balance between religious freedom and individual liberties.