Most Americans Still Against Legalizing Gay Marriage

On the heels of Tuesday's Proposition 8 ruling, the Gallup Poll released a new survey revealing most Americans are still opposed to same-sex marriage.

Fifty-seven percent of Americans say marriages between same-sex couples should not be recognized by the law as valid. While a significant drop from 1996 when 68 percent said so, opposition to same-sex marriage has remained stable between 53 and 59 percent since 2004.

Support for legal same-sex marriage is currently at 40 percent. Although a jump from 27 percent in 1996, support has stalled in recent years, peaking at 46 percent in 2007.

The survey results come as same-sex marriage remains banned in California. On Tuesday, the state Supreme Court ruled 6-1 to uphold Proposition 8 – a voter-approved measure defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

While the court decision prompted celebrations among various Christians and family groups, some didn't see the ruling as a complete victory and foresee continuous battles over marriage.

Family Research Council president Tony Perkins said the high court's decision to keep intact the estimated 18,000 same-sex marriages that were performed before California voters passed the amendment "seeds the ground for a possible legal battle before the U.S. Supreme Court."

Randy Thomas, executive vice president of Exodus International, didn't join the ranks of thousands of Christians in "hollering" over a win.

"I understand my Christian siblings' excitement. I am glad Prop 8 has been upheld," Thomas wrote on his blog. "Yet my personal pervading sense is sadness that a lot of gay identified people are going to be very angry and not understand our perspective."

"It, the battle over marriage, is hardly over," he stated.

Liberal columnist Mark Morford wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle that traditional marriage supporters have already lost the marriage battle, citing the views of the younger generation.

"Gay marriage is a foregone conclusion. It's a done deal. It's just a matter of time," Morford wrote. "For the next generation in particular, equal rights for gays is not even a question or a serious issue, much less a sinful hysterical conundrum that can only be answered by terrified Mormons and confused old people and inane referendums funded by same."

According to the Gallup Poll, younger Americans are most likely to support the legalization of same-sex marriage. Over half (59 percent) of 18- to 29-year-olds say marriage for gay and lesbian couples should be recognized by the law as valid. For all other older age groups, the majority say same-sex marriage should not be legal.

Traditional family groups, however, believe the Proposition 8 ruling points America in the right direction especially when considering the next generation.

"Marriage is worth protecting because it is the way we teach the next generation: children need mothers and fathers," said Maggie Gallagher, president of National Organization for Marriage. "This victory for Prop 8 is a victory for children, for civil rights, and for the common good."

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