Marriage equality gaining support

MARRIAGE EQUALITY GAINING SUPPORT…. About a month ago, a national CNN poll asked respondents, “Do you think gays and lesbians should have a constitutional right to get married and have their marriage recognized by law as valid?” A 52% majority agreed that they should — one of the first, if not the first, national polls to offer such a result.

Now, an AP poll offers similar results.

A new AP-GfK Poll finds that 52% of Americans support the rights of same-sex couples to marry. It’s the second national poll to have found majority support for gay marriage in the last two months.

In fairness, the wording of the question(s) in the AP poll wasn’t quite as straightforward as the CNN poll. The first question asked, “Should couples of the same sex be entitled to the same government benefits as married couples of the opposite sex, or should the government distinguish between them?” A 58% majority said yes, same-sex couples should be entitled to the same benefits.

The second question asked, “Should the federal government give legal recognition to marriages between couples of the same sex, or not?” Here, a 52% majority said yes.

“Legal recognition” can have different meanings, but the question also included the words “marriages between couples of the same sex.”

Either way, the larger trend is unmistakable — American attitudes on marriage equality have changed steadily for many years, and the arc is bending towards justice.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.