More Americans Agree with Same-Sex Marriage Than Gay Boy Scout Leaders

Most Americans say gay and lesbian domestic partners or spouses should have inheritance rights and health insurance and other benefits - and a majority say gays and lesbians should be able to legally adopt children.

These findings are from a November 26-29, 2012 USA Today/Gallup poll. Results from the same poll show that a majority of Americans favor the legalization of same-sex marriage, and 63 percent believe that discrimination against gays and lesbians is a serious problem in the United States.

Americans are slightly more supportive of inheritance rights, employee benefits and adoption rights for gays and lesbians now than they were in May 2009, when Gallup last surveyed on the topic.

A separate question finds a slight majority of Americans supporting the official Boy Scouts of America policy of excluding openly gay individuals from being Boy Scout leaders. The policy has become controversial in recent years, causing some corporate sponsors to withdraw their support for the Scouts, according to recent news reports.

Republicans Less Supportive Than Democrats of Gay and Lesbian Rights

Republicans are less in favor of inheritance rights, health insurance and other benefits, and adoption rights for gays and lesbians than are either independents or Democrats. They are also less supportive of allowing openly gay Boy Scout leaders to serve. The partisan divide between Republicans and Democrats is at least 20 percentage points on all four issues.

Still, a majority of all partisan groups support inheritance rights and employee benefits for gay and lesbian spouses and partners. But slightly less than half of Republicans support adoption rights. And support is below the majority level among both Republicans and independents for allowing openly gay adults to serve as Boy Scout leaders.

Bottom Line

While 53 percent of Americans support legalizing same-sex marriage, significantly higher percentages support the idea of equal rights for partners or spouses of gays or lesbians when it comes to inheritance rights and employee benefits, and making it legal for gays and lesbians to adopt children. Support for all three issues is up at least slightly from three years ago.

Less than half of Americans, however, support the idea of openly gay adults serving as Boy Scout leaders. Given the lack of a trend on this question, it is not clear whether support is higher than in the past, or the degree to which the lack of support may reflect respondents' reluctance to say how a private organization should decide who holds its positions of leadership.

Source: Gallup

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