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Despite 78 percent of Americans believing that gays can parent at least as well as straight parents, only 61 percent say they support allowing gay and lesbian couples to adopt a child, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
The eyebrow-raising discrepancy is just one of the gems in the poll: it also found that most Americans in the 33 states that currently prohibit same-sex marriage support its legalization.
Additionally, about eight in 10 Americans agree with Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer that businesses should not be able to refuse service based on sexual orientation. Half of Americans say the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law gives same-sex couples the right to marry, while 41 percent disagree.
The poll is the latest in a series that confirm the shift in American support for marriage equality. Gallup has been tracking support since 1996, when Americans overwhelmingly opposed same-sex marriage. In 1996, nearly seven in 10 Americans (68 percent) said same-sex marriages should not should not be legally recognized as valid, while 27 percent thought they should.
A lot has changed in 18 years.
In May 2011, a majority of Americans supported same-sex marriage for the first time since Gallup began tracking the data. Since then, the gap has continued to widen in favor of equality. Today, 54 percent believe same-sex marriage should be legally valid, while 43 percent do not.
The Washington Post-ABC News poll found that a record-high 59 percent of Americans support same-sex marriage, with 34 percent opposed. This is the widest margin in the poll’s history.