Photo by Ernesto Benavides/AFP/Getty Images.
Roughly 6 in 10 Americans believe same-sex unions should be recognized by law although less than 40 percent agree with President Obama's newfound stance that gays and lesbians should be allowed to wed, according to a new poll out Monday.
The New York Times/CBS News survey found that 38 percent of respondents believe same-sex couples should be allowed to marry and another 24 percent said civil unions should be used to grant gays and lesbians similar rights to their heterosexual counterparts. Combined, that means 62 percent of Americans back some form of legal recognition for gay and lesbian couples.
When it comes to gay marriage, however, the new poll results suggest significantly less support for gay marriage than a recent Gallup survey that found the country split 50-48 in favor of allowing same-sex couples to marry. That poll, however, focused only on gay marriage, and did not ask about civil unions.
The new CBS poll did find strong support for gay marriage among younger generations of Americans, with 53 percent of adults under 45 wanting gay and lesbian couples to have full marriage rights. About a third of Americans said that same-sex couples should have no legal recognition, a percentage that was generally even across all generations.
The results show a sharp partisan divide on the issue, with 58 percent of Democrats backing gay marriage and only 9 percent of Republicans doing so. Nearly half of Republicans said there should be no legal recognition. Full results here.