Did the Supreme Court change public opinion about gay marriage? Nope.

July 30, 2013

The landmark gay marriage decisions the Supreme Court handed down in June received widespread attention across the country.

But did they shift the public's opinion about gay marriage? Nope.

A new Gallup poll released Monday shows that 54 percent of Americans say same-sex marriage should be recognized by the law as valid, with 43 percent saying it should not. It's the first Gallup poll since the high court gave advocates of gay marriages big victories when it struck down a key part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act and cleared the way for same-sex marriage in California.

The previous poll, taken in early May, showed essentially the same thing. Fifty-three percent said gay marriage should be recognized as valid, while 45 percent disagreed. Going back even further to last November, the breakdown (53/46) was largely the same.

Viewed one way, it's not surprising. A Washington Post-ABC News poll taken after the court handed down the decisions showed that 51 percent of Americans approved of the California ruling and 56 percent approved of the DOMA decision -- largely consistent with the breakdown in the Gallup poll.

But viewed from another angle, it is a little surprising. Support for gay marriage has consistently been on the rise during the last three decades, except 2004, when it dipped amid heightened attention to the issue, after the Massachusetts Supreme Court legalized gay marriage. But heightened attention did not move the needle this time.

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.
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