Most Americans Still Believe in Traditional Marriage, Poll Shows

A national marriage survey commissioned by a conservative legal group found that 62 percent of Americans believe that marriage should be defined as a union between a man and a woman. The numbers, the survey director said, mirrors the millions of Americans in 31 states who voted in favor of constitutional marriage amendments.

Despite several other polls which show the national opinion is trending toward favoring legalizing gay marriage, the poll sponsored by the Alliance Defense Fund shows the exact opposite – Americans still strongly support traditional marriage.

The poll simply asked respondents if they strongly agreed, agreed or disagreed with the statement, "I believe marriage should be defined only as a union between one man and one woman." The survey was completed by 1,500 adults ages 18 and older.

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The survey summary asserts that 53 percent strongly agree with the statement while another 9 percent said they agreed with the statement. Together 62 percent agreed they supported a traditional definition of marriage.

Only 35 percent of respondents disagreed.

Gene Ulm, Public Opinion Strategies partner and survey director, said the national survey's overwhelming support for traditional marriage is "not surprising." Unlike the other national polls, Ulm said this poll closely reflects the voters themselves.

"More than 63 million Americans in 31 state elections have voted on constitutional marriage amendments. Forty million Americans in all … have voted to affirm marriage as a union between a man and a woman," he said in a statement.

Attorney Brian Raum noted that the survey also affirms what he and other counselors at the Alliance Defense Fund have seen in court.

"This survey, along with the nearly 80 percent win rate in ADF marriage cases, shows the opposition has created an illusion of momentum, but not a real base of support or track record of victory in the courts."

Surveys showing a change in support for gay marriage emerged after President Barack Obama announced in February that his administration would no longer assert the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act

The 1996 federal law, enacted under the Clinton administration, defines marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman for purposes of all federal laws, and provides that states need not recognize same-sex marriages from another state.

National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown disputed the early results from a Washington Post-ABC poll, pointing out that it used the word "illegal" and implied that same-sex couples would be arrested for entering into a gay marriage. In that March poll, 44 percent said gay marriage should be illegal while 53 percent said it should be legal.

However, as more polls came out from gay rights group Human Rights Campaign, and pollster companies Gallup and Pew, each showing increasing support for same-sex marriage, some Christian leaders began to concede that the culture was in fact changing.

Dr. Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, stated earlier, "I think it's clear that something like same-sex marriage is going to become normalized, legalized and recognized in the culture ... It's time for Christians to start thinking about how we're going to deal with that."

Focus on the Family Chief Executive and President Jim Daly told World Magazine that when it comes to the battle for traditional marriage, "We're losing on that one, especially among the 20- and 30-somethings."

This latest poll gives conservative leaders hope because ADF attorney Raum said it affirms what real voters believe about marriage.

"Americans strongly affirm the lifelong, faithful union of a man and a woman as the fundamental building block of civilization," he said.

Of the survey's respondents, 43 percent were under the age of 45. Seventy-eight percent of respondents were white, 11 percent were African-American and 11 percent were Hispanic or of Spanish-speaking background. A mix of land-line and cell phone numbers were used.

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