Poll: Majority Of Americans Would Support SCOTUS Decision Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage

A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds that a majority of Americans believe the Supreme Court should legalize same-sex marriage nationwide:

Nearly three in five Americans want to see the Supreme Court legalize gay marriage throughout the United States, according to a new NBC News/ Wall Street Journal poll.

A total of 58 percent of Americans said that they favor a high court decision to eliminate bans against same sex marriage, with 44 percent of those saying they strongly favor such a result.

Thirty-seven percent of respondents said they oppose a court ruling in favor of the case’s LGBT plaintiffs, with 29 percent said they strongly oppose it.

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the same sex marriage case in April, and a decision is expected sometime this summer.


The poll results on the question of the Supreme Court’s decision show a split similar to the one illustrated this March, when NBC News/Wall Street Journal pollsters asked respondents if they favor or oppose same sex marriage. Fifty-nine percent said they favor it, while 33 percent disagreed.

Support for a Supreme Court decision that allows nationwide same sex marriage is particularly strong among young voters (73 percent in favor), Democrats (78 percent in favor), Hispanics (71 percent favor) and people with a postgraduate education (69 percent).

Opposition is high among conservatives (68 percent oppose) and seniors (55 percent oppose).

As a matter of law, of course, what the majority of the public thinks about this issue isn’t particularly relevant. However, it does seem to indicate that if the Justices do rule as most observers expect and strike down state-law bans on same-sex marriage then the public will largely accept the decision. Yes, there will be much complaining coming from Republicans and, especially, social conservatives, but that is likely all we’ll see. This suggests that, in time, the Court’s decision in this case would come to be seen more like Loving v. Virginia than Roe v. Wade. In the case of Roe, the decision has tended to remain a point of controversy precisely because abortion is an issue on which the public is almost evenly divided according to most polls on the subject. In this case, we’re talking about a social issue that, while a point of controversy, is one on which there has quickly formed a public consensus. Outside of the most vocal elements of the right, even conservatives don’t seem very eager to fight about gay marriage any more. No doubt, a Court decision along the lines I have outlined will be used by Republicans to rally the base and such, but that would seem to be all that we’re going to see. Sooner rather than later, we are likely going to end up in a world where people wonder why all the contentious debate over marriage equality was even necessary.

FILED UNDER: Public Opinion Polls, Supreme Court, US Politics, , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. gVOR08 says:

    Yes. Public opinion should have no bearing. But I can’t imagine it won’t. Roberts will not throw away the credibility of the Court over this.

    The current high degree of opposition to abortion reflects the positive feedback loop that arose. The relatively modest immediate reaction to Roe allowed the Falwell’s and his ilk to raise some money, which motivated the preachers, the preachers whipped up the congregation, the congregation sent even more money, rinse and repeat, and here we are. I was around at the time. Abortion was not a big deal until a year or two after Roe v/ Wade. There was no big fight won and lost leading up to Roe.

    Gay rights were a big fight, and a fight clearly lost before the anticipated Court decision. So I agree, the ability to fund raise will not be as large, nor will it grow like anti-abortion fund raising did.

  2. Cd6 says:

    I agree. I am leaning towards both Kennedy and Roberts voting yea

  3. C. Clavin says:


    Roberts will not throw away the credibility of the Court over this.

    You can’t throw away what you don’t have. After Citizens, McCutcheon, and Hobby Lobby history will laugh at the Roberts Court.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    But but but Doug….

    As Chief Justice John Roberts put it: “[p]eople feel very differently about something if they have a chance to vote on it than if it’s imposed on them by the courts.”

    Washington Post

  5. michael reynolds says:

    Abortion remains an issue because there are actual moral and ethical questions involved. I disagree with anti-abortion folks, but they have a legitimate point of view. The anti-gay crowd are just morons with nothin’.

  6. Kylopod says:

    @michael reynolds: Exactly. No matter what you think of the legality of it, abortion is a complicated and difficult issue that raises troubling moral questions. Nobody has to turn themselves into a pretzel to explain their opposition to abortion, the way they do with SSM.

  7. KM says:

    @michael reynolds:
    And unfortunately it will remain one until someone invents a viable external womb. Once there can be a clear and safe separation between any and all entities involved that utterly removes dependence, there can be a true discussion of inherent merits, morals and rights.

    That far-distant sci-fi future can’t get here fast enough. Is anyone even working on that?

  8. DrDaveT says:


    Is anyone even working on that?

    Yes. What do artificial wombs mean for women?

    There are two commonly cited endeavors in progess. Focusing on finding ways to save premature babies, Japanese professor Dr. Yoshinori Kuwabara of Juntendo University, has successfully gestated goat embryos in a machine that holds amniotic fluid in tanks. On the other end of the process focusing on helping women unable to conceive and gestate babies, is Dr. Helen Hung-Ching Liu, Director of the Reproductive Endocrine Laboratory at the Center for Reproductive Medicine and Infertility at Cornell University. Quietly, in 2003, she and her team succeeded in growing a mouse embryo, almost to full term, by adding engineered endometrium tissue to a bio-engineered, extra-uterine “scaffold.” More recently, she grew a human embryo, for ten days in an artificial womb. Her work is limited by legislation that imposes a 14-day limit on research project of this nature. As complicated as it is, her goal is a functioning external womb.

    Predictions for the full realization of what scholars Scott Gelfand and John Shook call “immaculate gestation”* range from 10 to 60 years. However, it is already partially possible and entirely within the spectrum of acceptable practices.

  9. grumpy realist says:

    @DrDaveT: As a female, I want to see an artificial womb developed because it will really force the religious types to decide what they’re really for: pro-life or punishing women for having sex?

  10. HarvardLaw92 says:
  11. Tony W says:

    @HarvardLaw92: From the article

    She is representing herself in the lawsuit.

    In other words, no counsel would touch this with a 10 foot pole. Reminds me of the House lawsuit against President Obama. Haven’t heard much about that one since election day.

  12. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Tony W:

    Oh I know. It’s frivolous and will get tossed. I just found it amusing.

  13. grumpy realist says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Written out in longhand on lined paper….right.

    I wonder what percentage of pro se filings are from obvious lunatics?