Americans’ Acceptance of Gay Relations Crosses 50% Threshold
Just when I’ve about lost all faith in humanity, I get a glimmer of hope that America isn’t in a wild tailspin into the abyss:
PRINCETON, NJ - Americans’ support for the moral acceptability of gay and lesbian relations crossed the symbolic 50% threshold in 2010. At the same time, the percentage calling these relations “morally wrong” dropped to 43%, the lowest in Gallup’s decade-long trend.
Gallup’s annual Values and Beliefs survey, conducted each May, documents a gradual increase in public acceptance of gay relations since about 2006. However, the change is seen almost exclusively among men, and particularly men younger than 50.
Additionally, Gallup finds greater movement toward acceptance among independents and Democrats than among Republicans, and a big jump in acceptance among moderates. Liberals were already widely accepting of gay relations in 2006, and have remained that way, while conservatives’ acceptance continues to run low.
Notably, there has been a 16-point jump in acceptance among Catholics, nearly three times the increase seen among Protestants. Acceptance among Americans with no religious identity has expanded as well.
I find it interesting that attitudes among certain religious groups are changing, though it is worth noting that ~84% of non-Christians and atheists see homosexual relations as being moral.
There are a lot of misconceptions about homosexuality in the Christian community that are encouraged. One big one is that the majority of child molesters are homosexual. This is a pesky one that ignores the number of married men that sexually abuse children. I imagine that’s especially hard to reconcile for Catholics, as if you are going to make the incorrect assertion that child molester = homosexual, then there needs to be some realization what that means in the context of clergy.
Americans remain closely divided over the factors contributing to being gay. Currently, 37% say being gay is due to upbringing and environment while 36% say it is a trait one is born with.
The division on this question has been the norm for most of the past decade, although the plurality response has fluctuated. Longer term, however, there has been a major change in Americans’ views on this question, with far fewer today than in the 1970s and 1980s believing that being gay or lesbian is the result of upbringing and other life experiences.
It still baffles me how people can still think that environment is the biggest factor contributing to homosexuality. I wonder what part of George Reker’s environment contributed to his sexuality (or any of the other staunch homophobes that are outed as hypocrites)?
There is a gradual cultural shift under way in Americans’ views toward gay individuals and gay rights. While public attitudes haven’t moved consistently in gays’ and lesbians’ favor every year, the general trend is clearly in that direction. This year, the shift is apparent in a record-high level of the public seeing gay and lesbian relations as morally acceptable. Meanwhile, support for legalizing gay marriage, and for the legality of gay and lesbian relations more generally, is near record highs.
ShaunP’s bottom line: Acceptance of people different from you is an American trait that I’m glad is not being wiped from our collective consciousness…