A new Associated Press-Gfk poll has revealed that most Americans now believe that government officials should be required to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, even if the official has religious beliefs that oppose same-sex marriage.
The poll shows 56 percent of Americans now believe that government officials and clerks should be required to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, regardless of personal religious objections. Only 41 percent of Americans polled believe that religious government officials, like notorious Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, have a right to deny couples a marriage license.
The new numbers signify a shift in thought from a July poll taken weeks after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage. The July poll showed that 49 percent of Americans believed that officials with religious objections had the right to refuse couples a marriage license.
Surprisingly, Republican opinions have shifted the most dramatically in the past four months. While a majority 58 percent still support religious objections, the number is down 14 points from July’s 72 percent.
— JoeMyGod (@JoeMyGod) October 30, 2015
The biggest reason in the shift of opinion may be how familiar people have become on the issue. In July, when the question regarding government officials was first asked in the poll, it was a more abstract concept. In the weeks after the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality, Kim Davis became a household name. Although Davis still appeals the Supreme Court’s decision, public opinion has shifted against her.
Overall, America’s mind is not completely made up on same-sex marriage, with 43 percent supporting same-sex marriage, while 39 percent still oppose. However, 22 percent of gay marriage opponents still believe that government officials should have to put their religion aside, follow the law, and issue marriage licenses to everyone.