Poll: Majority of Americans Oppose DOMA

A majority Americans now oppose the so-called "Defense of Marriage Act," as well as the decision by the House GOP leadership to defend the law in court. That's according to a new poll released today by the Human Rights Campaign, just one day before House and Senate lawmakers plan to introduce a pair of DOMA repeal bills (the Respect for Marriage Act).

The survey found that 51% of voters oppose DOMA, compared with only 34% in favor. The majority holds among independent voters as well. An even higher share – 54% – are against the recent decision by House GOP leaders to defend the law in court, now that the Obama administration won't. Nearly half of Republicans (44%) also disagree with GOP House leaders' plans.

Even more Americans support granting the same federal benefits to married same-sex couples that straight couples get. For example, 60% say spouses who lost their partner deserve Social Security survivor benefits. That's exactly what 80-year old Herb Burtis is fighting for in his lawsuit against DOMA. He was with John Ferris for 55 years before they got married in Massachusetts in 2004. John died three years ago, but Herb can't get any benefits from the Social Security system that his husband paid into for decades, because of DOMA.

"The extra $700 every month from John’s Social Security would cover my gap health insurance – what I get above and beyond Medicare," says Herb. "My medications alone are $700 each month. It would make a big difference."

President Obama has called repeatedly for the repeal of DOMA. Tomorrow Rep. Jerrold Nadler, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, and other lawmakers are introducing bills to do just that. The bill already has more than 100 co-sponsors – and now they know that a majority of the American public is behind it as well.