According to a CNN poll, 52 percent of Americans believe that gay and lesbian couples should have the right to marry. While this is only one poll, it stands in stark contrast to a long-held assumption that a majority of Americans don't support gay marriage. It's a timely barometer, as another court ruling is due in the Prop. 8 case in California. Commentators debate the poll's finding and muse over whether the U.S. judicial system needs to get involved any more.

  • Here's What the Poll Asked writes Raw Story:

"Do you think gays and lesbians should have a constitutional right to get married and have their marriage recognized by law as valid?" the poll asked.

Fifty-two percent of respondents thought marriage should be a right, while 46 percent disagreed and two percent had no opinion. The margin of error was 3 points.

A similar question that omitted the word "should" found that 49 percent said yes and 51 percent said no. A CBS poll last April found that "only a third of Americans think [same-sex] couples should be allowed to marry."

  • This Is a Watershed Moment, writes Doug Mataconis at Outside the Beltway: "The change over the past twenty-two years is rather dramatic and, if it’s true, it seems to indicate that we’ve reached a point where opposition to same-sex marriage will, before long, become the minority opinion. The lack of a sustained public reaction against Judge Walker’s opinion in the Prop 8 case seems to indicate that we’re almost there."
  • Further Proof That Legislatures Should Ultimately Decide This, writes Allahpundit at Hot Air: "It’s hard to draw strong lessons from a three-point swing, which is within the margin of error, but it does point towards the possibility that you’re more likely to build public consensus by taking the incrementalist approach and letting legislatures create rights than having courts divine them from the Constitution. And as I’ve said before, given the demographic background, it won’t be long before plenty of legislatures are willing to comply."
  • This Gives the Courts Leeway, writes Andrew Sullivan at The Atlantic: "In 1989, the idea was preposterous. But by relentless arguing, debate, litigation and legislative and ballot-box initiatives, we have moved the needle faster than anyone once dreamed of. When a proposition has 50 percent support, you can argue either that there is no need for the courts to act. But you could equally argue that with public support already this high, such a ruling could not meaningfully represent anything approximating 'tyranny'. Certainly far less so than when the courts struck down bans on inter-racial marriage which enjoyed very strong popular support at the time, especially in the states where they prevailed."
  • If the Courts Act, There Could Be a Backlash, writes Nate Silver at Five Thirty Eight: "Something to bear in mind is that it's only been fairly recently that gay rights groups -- and other liberals and libertarians -- shifted toward a strategy of explicitly calling for full equity in marriage rights, rather than finding civil unions to be an acceptable compromise. While there is not necessarily zero risk of backlash resulting from things like court decisions -- support for gay marriage slid backward by a couple of points, albeit temporarily, after a Massachusetts' court's ruling in 2003 that same-sex marriage was required by that state's constitution."
  • Maybe This Isn't What Conservatives Should Be Focusing On, says Glenn Beck, in an interview with Bill O'Reilly: