Half of All Americans Support Gay Marriage; Protestants Most Resistant

A new Gallup poll on the attitudes of Americans toward same-sex marriage has revealed that around 50 percent of all respondents agree with its legalization. The poll reveals, however, that among religious Americans, Protestants in general are opposed to legalizing same-sex marriage.

A chart by Gallup showed that those on board with homosexual marriage have been increasing in number throughout the past few decades, and in the past two years their numbers have reached 50 percent or more. This year's survey results are slightly lower than 2011's in which 53 percent of all Americans were favorable to gay marriage.

The results come only a few days after Vice President Joe Biden expressed on "Meet the Press" that he is "absolutely comfortable" with the idea that same-sex couples and heterosexual couples are "entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties," although President Barack Obama has yet to express the same sentiments.

As expected, conservative Republicans back the traditional definition of marriage to a greater extent than Democrats, although Independents also showed a majority approval of same-sex marriage, with 57 percent saying that it should be legal.

Along religious lines, 88 percent of those who said they have no religious identity agreed that gay marriage should be legal. Catholics were largely split on the issue, with a 51 percent approval rate, while Protestants generally insisted that it should not be legal, with only 38 percent supporting it.

Furthermore, those who attended religious services on a weekly basis were more prompted to stand behind the traditional definition of marriage, with only 31 percent of those attending weekly agreeing that gay marriage should be legal.

"This year's results underscore just how divided the nation is on this issue. As a result, President Obama's campaign strategy team obviously is continuing to grapple with how to handle it -- with the vice president on the one hand essentially endorsing legalized gay marriage, while the administration on the other hand stops just short of the same pronouncement," according to the report by Gallup.

The report noted that although Obama officially remains opposed to legalizing gay marriage, it is possible his position will change in the upcoming election in order to rally more pro-gay Democrats behind him.

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