EVERYTHING BUT THE RING

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While some people have voiced their disfavor for gay and lesbian marriage, a recent survey reveals that a majority of Americans support basic partnership rights for same-sex couples. According to a nationally representative survey of 2,050 adults, sponsored by the Washington, D.C.-based strategic market research firm Witeck-Combs Communications, most Americans believe same-sex partners should have hospital visitation rights (71 percent), emergency health-care authority (66 percent), joint property rights (60 percent) and estate inheritance rights (59 percent). Almost half of adults surveyed (48 percent) say gays are entitled to Social Security survivor benefits. When asked specifically about the distribution of $2.3 billion in funds raised for families directly impacted by Sept. 11, almost half of respondents (48 percent) also supported giving equal compensation to same-sex couples as legally married couples. Less than a third (31 percent) opposed the idea, while less than a quarter (21 percent) had no opinion on the matter.

SUPPORT SYSTEM

Certain demographic groups — including women, young adults and college graduates — are more likely than average Americans to support same-sex partner rights.

PERCENT OF SURVEY RESPONDENTS WHO SUPPORT GIVING THE FOLLOWING RIGHTS AND BENEFITS TO SAME-SEX COUPLES:

ALL ADULTS WOMEN AGE 25-29 COLLEGE GRADS
Hospital visitation rights 71% 75% 86% 79%
Emergency health-care authority 66% 71% 76% 75%
Joint property rights 60% 66% 72% 66%
Estate inheritance rights 59% 63% 73% 66%
Social Security survivor benefits 48% 54% 64% 54%
Source: Witeck-Combs Communications
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