Support for equal partnership entitlements for same-sex couples in the US continues to rise, according to a new poll by Reuters.
It comes as the US Supreme Court prepares to decide whether the federal government may deny benefits to same-sex married couples that it allows for heterosexual couples.
According to Reuters/Ipsos polling of 2,886 Americans, 55% of those surveyed said married same-sex couples should be able to qualify for social security survivor payments and other benefits provided to married heterosexual couples.
A more extensive Reuters/Ipsos poll of 24,455 people between 1 Jan and 14 March found only a quarter of Americans opposed same-sex marriages or civil unions.
The greatest support was in the north-east region of the US, with 69% of adults supporting same-sex marriages or civil unions. However, support fell to 57% in the southern states.
Currently, nine US states and the District of Columbia permit same-sex marriages. Eight other states allow civil unions or domestic partnerships.
In oral arguments next week, the US Supreme Court will address for the first time a possible right to same-sex marriage.
The issue for the nine justices on the first day is the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8, the 2008 voter referendum that declared marriage a right only for a man and woman.