Wedge Issue No More: Opposing Marriage Equality Is a Political Loser

It took a while, but law finally caught up to public opinion. In this morning’s historic ruling on same-sex marriage, the Supreme Court came around to an idea that the public had been supportive of for years.

Marriage equality is now the law of the land, and despite the warnings from some candidates (or candidates-to-be) about the brave new world this ruling will create, it is actually a winner at the polling stations, according to new data released this afternoon by Democracy Corps and the Human Rights Campaign.

Support for same-sex marriage has been on the upswing since 1996, according to Gallup. When the question was first asked, just 27 percent said “should be” in response to the question, “Do you think marriages between homosexuals should or should not be recognized by the law as valid, with the same rights as traditional marriage?” Sixty-eight percent said they should not be recognized as valid. Today, the “should be’s” are at 60 percent, an all time high, and the “should not be’s” are at an all-time low, at 37 percent. In just 20 years, a third of the country has changed their mind on the question.

Support is increasing even in Republican circles, going from 16 percent to 37 percent in the Gallup poll. A Washington Post poll this year found higher support, 42 percent of Republicans said they supported same-sex marriage.

In news more pertinent to presidential candidates, support for same-sex marriage is a political winner, and, perhaps more importantly, opposition is a political loser. In a memo sent by Democracy Corps today, the 55 percent of 2016 potential voters say they are less likely to support a presidential candidate that opposes same-sex marriage.

Independent, married women, and white millennials all responded that they would be less likely to support a candidate that opposes same-sex marriage. And, it’s not really close, at 52 percent, 59 percent and 64 percent, respectively.

Nearly half of white millennials, a group the GOP desperately wants to keep in the fold, said they were much less likely to vote for a candidate that opposes same-sex marriage.

All three groups were part of the coalition Republicans successfully wooed in the 2014 midterm elections, the memo points out, and would likely be necessary for any hope of capturing the White House in 2016.

Additionally, in news that really should not surprise anyone, having a gay friend or knowing a gay couple makes it less likely to vote for a candidate that opposes same-sex marriage, at 63 percent and 73 percent, respectively, and with majorities saying they would strongly oppose a candidate that was not on board.

Today was an historic day for the LGBTQ community, but it only confirmed what we already knew, that Americans support equality, and will punish those that deny equality. Finally we have some people at the Supreme Court that agree.

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