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Is the GOP out of step with Americans on same-sex marriage?

The Republican National Convention (RNC) Platform Committee, meeting ahead of next week's convention, debated the party's stance on same-sex marriage and LGBT rights, but ultimately rejected a move to soften language on same-sex marriage and continued its opposition to transgender bathroom choice in the GOP platform Monday, according to the Associated Press.

Their immobility on these issues exposes a large rift with most Americans, who favor greater LGBT rights than Republicans are willing to accept.

For more than three years now, a majority of Americans have said it should be legal for same-sex couples to marry. Fifty-eight percent support the legalization of same-sex marriage, while 33 percent are opposed, according to a June CBS News Poll.

Last year, the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples should have the right to marry -- Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing in for the majority said in the opinion, "Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization's oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right." The ruling extended marriage rights to gay couples in the 14 remaining states where same-sex marriage was previously prohibited.

Support for same-sex marriage cuts across many demographic groups, but more than half of Republicans and conservatives still say same-sex marriage should not be legal.


Though the move by some Republican party activists to try and soften language in the party's platform on LGBT issues failed, there were, according to the Huffington Post, about twenty on the 112-strong Rules Committee who raised their hands in favor of the more moderate LGBT language. There may be a little softening among rank-and-file Republicans and conservatives, as well. In 2012, 60 percent of Republicans were opposed to same-sex marriage, but that figure is down to 52 percent today. Fewer conservatives also oppose same-sex marriage now than they did four years ago.

Donald Trump, the Republican Party's likely nominee, has said he supports traditional marriage but has not made this issue a focal point of his campaign.


On the more recent issue of transgender people and public bathrooms, the country is divided. A CBS News/New York Times Poll in May found 46 percent of Americans think transgender people should have to use the bathroom of the gender they were born as, while slightly fewer -- 41 percent -- think they should be allowed to use the bathroom of the gender they identify as.

There are stark partisan differences on this issue: 65 percent of Republicans think transgender people should use the bathroom of the gender they were born as, while six in 10 Democrats think they should be allowed to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with.

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