Public support for allowing gay couples to adopt children has risen to a slim plurality in the latest ABCNEWS.com poll.
Supporters of same-sex adoption now outnumber opponents, if only slightly, for the first time in 10 years of polling on the subject. Forty-seven percent think gay couples should be legally permitted to adopt while slightly fewer, 42 percent, disagree.
Opponents, once firmly in the majority, now hold a minority view. Their ranks are down 23 points since a 1994 poll and 15 points since 1998.
There has been renewed debate on this issue since talk show host Rosie O'Donnell spoke out last month against a 1977 Florida law that prohibits adoption by homosexuals.
Big Splits on the Issue
There are large cleavages in the American public on this issue. Most younger adults, women, and those with more education support adoption by homosexuals. Older adults, men, and the less-educated don't.
There are also regional differences. Majorities in the East and Midwest are supportive; most in the South are not.
Partisanship plays a large role in these views. Most Democrats and Independents support adoption by gays, while Republicans oppose it by a 2-1 margin.
This ABCNEWS.com survey was conducted by telephone March 27-31, 2002, among a random national sample of 1,031 adults. The results have a three-point error margin. Sampling, data collection and tabulation by TNS Intersearch of Horsham, Pa.
Previous ABCNEWS polls can be found in our Poll Vault.