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Poll: Support For Same-Sex Marriage Hits New High After SCOTUS Rulings

A new poll that's been released this week by USA Today has found that support for marriage equality among American adults has reached a record high. 

USA Today reports:

The court's decisions that opened the door to gay marriage in California and struck down a law that barred federal benefits for same-sex couples may well have boosted support in a country that was already moving in favor of same-sex marriage.

• By an unprecedented 55%-40%, Americans say marriages between same-sex couples should be recognized by law as valid, with the same rights of traditional marriage. That's the highest level of support since Gallup began asking the question in 1996. Then, fewer than half that number, 27%, backed the idea.

The only major demographic groups in which a majority oppose same-sex marriage are Republicans (68%) and seniors 65 and older (51%). Even in the South, which continues to be the only region that doesn't show majority support for gay marriage, opposition has slipped below 50%.

• By a narrower margin, 48%-43%, those surveyed favor the Supreme Court's decision declaring unconstitutional part of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which barred the federal government from providing benefits to same-sex spouses. Views on the issue are intense. Those who feel strongly about the issue split 29%-29% in favor and against the ruling.

"Neither one of those decisions is as a legal matter a huge gay rights victory," says Tom Goldstein, a Harvard Law School professor and publisher of SCOTUSblog, which analyzes the high court. "But it's the moral message from the court that these unions are entitled to equal respect ... that is probably the lasting legacy of the decisions and is probably going to play a significant role in public opinion."