Gay Rights: The Arc of Justice Is Clear
Not one, but two new national polls show that Americans are increasingly comfortable with same-sex relationships and unions:
Overall, 38 percent of those who responded to the survey said same-sex couples should be allowed to marry, just like any other couple. Another 24 percent said civil unions should be used to grant same-sex couples legal rights similar to male-female partnerships. Combined, that means 62 percent - close to two thirds - of Americans believe that same-sex unions should be recognized by law.
Of all those who participated, 33 percent said there should be no legal recognition for same-sex couples.
One of the most striking figures revealed by the survey comes when the responses are broken down by age. Americans between the ages of 18 and 44 are far more likely than people 45 and older to support full marriage rights for same-sex couples.
PRINCETON, NJ — The slight majority of American adults, 54%, consider gay or lesbian relations morally acceptable. Public acceptance of gay/lesbian relations as morally acceptable grew slowly but steadily from 38% in 2002 to 56% in 2011 and is now holding at the majority level.
This Gallup trend mirrors the growth in public support for legalizing gay marriage, which has risen from 42% support in 2004 to 50% or greater support in the last two years. Americans’ support for gay rights on both questions leveled off in this year’s Values and Beliefs poll, conducted May 3-6.
Gallup’s longer-term question measuring U.S. attitudes about gays asks whether gay or lesbian relations should or should not be legal. The 63% now saying gay relations should be legal nearly matches the record-high 64% of a year ago, which came after a long-term increase in support for legality from 32% in 1986.