Majority of Americans support civil
unions for lesbian and gay couples

ABC News is reporting that 55 percent of U.S. voters favor allowing same sex couples to form legally recognized civil unions - providing the same rights as heterosexual married couples in health insurance, inheritance and pension coverage.

This is an increase from 45 percent in an ABC/Washington Post poll in 2006. The previous high was 51 percent in 2004.

All leading Democratic presidential candidates support civil unions - and Rudy Giuliani is the only Republican candidate to side with the idea.

The most recent ABC/Post poll also found that more people under 30-years-old support civil unions when compared to seniors.

Support is highest in the East and West - and much lower in the Midwest and South. Caucasians are more likely than African Americans to support civil unions. And women are more favorable towards the idea (59 percent) than men (51 percent, and 47 percent among married men).

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