As support for gay marriage continues to increase, nearly three-quarters of Americans – 72% – say that legal recognition of same-sex marriage is “inevitable.” This includes 85% of gay marriage supporters, as well as 59% of its opponents.
In Gay Marriage Debate, Both Supporters and Opponents See Legal Recognition as ‘Inevitable’
The national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted e-sex marriage continues to grow: For the first time in Pew Research Center polling, just over half (51%) of Americans favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally. Yet the issue remains divisive, with 42% saying they oppose legalizing gay marriage. Opposition to gay marriage – and to societal acceptance of homosexuality more generally – is rooted in religious attitudes, such as the belief that engaging in homosexual behavior is a sin.
At the same time, more people today have gay or lesbian acquaintances, which is associated with acceptance of homosexuality and support for gay ericans (87%) personally know someone who is gay or lesbian (up from 61% in 1993). About half (49%) say a close family member or one of their closest friends is gay or lesbian. About a quarter (23%) say they know a lot of people who are gay or lesbian, and 31% know a gay or lesbian person who is raising children. The link between these experiences and attitudes about homosexuality is strong. For example, roughly two-thirds (68%) of those who know a lot of people who are gay or lesbian favor gay marriage, compared with just 32% of those who don’t know anyone.
Part of this is a matter of who is more likely to have many gay acquaintances: the young, city dwellers, women, and the less religious, for example. But even taking these factors into account, the relationship between personal experiences and acceptance of homosexuality is a strong one.
Yet opposition to gay marriage remains substantial, and religious beliefs are a major factor in opposition. Just under half of Americans (45%) say they think engaging in homosexual behavior is a sin, while an equal number says it is not. Those who believe homosexual behavior is a sin overwhelmingly oppose gay marriage. Similarly, those who say they personally feel there is a lot of conflict between their religious beliefs and homosexuality (35% of the public) are staunchly opposed to same-sex marriage.
The survey finds that as support for same-sex marriage has risen, other attitudes about homosexuality have changed as well. In a 2004 Los Angeles Times poll, most Americans (60%) said they would be upset if they had a child who told them that they were gay or lesbian; 33% said they would be very upset over this. Today, 40% say they would be upset if they learned they had a gay or lesbian child, and just 19% would be very upset.
Favorable opinions of both gay men and lesbians have risen since 2003. Moreover, by nearly two-to-one (60% to 31%), more Americans say that homosexuality should be accepted rather than discouraged by society. A decade ago, opinions about societal acceptance of homosexuality were evenly divided (47% accepted, 45% discouraged).
The religious basis for opposition to homosexuality is seen clearly in the reasons people give for saying it https://datingranking.net/worth-dating/ should be discouraged by society. By far the most frequently cited factors –mentioned by roughly half (52%) of those who say homosexuality should be discouraged – are moral objections to homosexuality, that it conflicts with religious beliefs, or that it goes against the Bible. No more than about one-in-ten cite any other reasons as to why homosexuality should be discouraged by society.
Widespread Belief that Legal Recognition Is ‘Inevitable’
Despite the increasing support for legal same-sex marriage in recent years, opinions about the issue remain deeply divided by age, partisanship and religious affiliation.
Republicans (73%) are as likely as Democrats (72%) or independents (74%) to view legal recognition for gay marriage as inevitable. Just 31% of Republicans favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally, compared with majorities of Democrats (59%) and independents (58%).
Similarly, people 65 and older are 30 points more likely to view legal recognition of same-sex marriage as inevitable than to favor it (69% vs. 39%). Among those younger than 30, about as many see legal same-sex marriage as inevitable as support gay marriage (69%, 65%).
Just 22% of white evangelical Protestants favor same-sex marriage, but about three times that percentage (70%) thinks legal recognition for gay ong other religious groups, there are smaller differences in underlying opinions about gay marriage and views of whether it is inevitable.