HRC Blog

New HRC Poll: Voters Oppose Republican Defense of DOMA

American voters oppose the Defense of Marriage Act – the law that forbids the federal government from recognizing legally married same-sex couples – as well as efforts by the House Republican leadership to intervene in court cases defending the law, according to new polling released by the Human Rights Campaign in partnership with Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research.

51 percent of voters oppose DOMA while 34 percent favor it. Independent voters, who were instrumental in the Republican House takeover, oppose the law by a 52 percent to 34 percent margin. Additionally, when read statements for and against defending DOMA in court, 54 percent of voters oppose the House Republicans’ intervention, while only 32 percent support it.

Given a list of issues important in determining their vote for President, voters ranked the economy and jobs (54 percent), Medicare and Social Security (23 percent) and education (19 percent) as most important with only 5 percent of respondents saying marriage was most important to them. Finally, when presented with the actual benefits from which married same-sex couples are excluded, voters overwhelmingly support extending those benefits.

The data from the poll as well as additional graphs is available at

Tomorrow, leaders in the House and Senate will introduce the “Respect for Marriage Act” – a bill to repeal DOMA and open up the benefits, protections and obligations of marriage under federal law to same-sex couples legally married in states that have ended their exclusion from marriage.

In contrast, last Wednesday, Speaker John Boehner announced that the House would intervene to defend DOMA in court, following a Justice Department announcement that the administration believes the law to be unconstitutional.  At least nine cases are challenging DOMA spanning three appellate courts and four district courts in six states.  The Speaker’s announcement did not make clear if they will intervene in all of the cases, who will represent the House, how much the defense will cost, what their arguments for the law will be or other critical issues.

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