Pew Research just published the results of their new poll, and its findings are really kind of earth-shattering. 57% of Americans now support marriage equality, with only 39% opposed.
As recently as five years ago, more opposed (48%) same-sex marriage than supported it (42%). This is the highest level of support measured for same-sex marriage in nearly 20 years of Pew Research Center polling of the issue.
People supporting gay marriage tend to be younger, have more education, and (unsurprisingly) attend church less. The poll also remarkably showed a majority of every geographical region in the nation, barring the south, supporting same-gender marriage. Despite this tidal wave of public opinion toward same-sex marriage, some staunch holdouts against remain.
The Pew Research Center survey, conducted May 12-18 among 2,002 adults, finds that partisans are as divided on this issue as ever: Today, 65% of Democrats and an identical percentage of independents favor gay marriage; only about one third (34%) of Republicans do so. Growing shares of all three groups support same-sex marriage, yet the differences between Democrats and Republicans are as wide today as they were a decade ago.
White evangelical Protestants, as a group, also staunchly oppose gay marriage. Pew tells us that only 27% support marriage equality, while 70% oppose, and of the total, 43% strongly oppose.
Americans have come a long way in understanding sexuality, with 60% saying that sexual orientation cannot be changed, and almost half believing that people are born gay.
What’s interesting here is that 57% of people support same-sex marriage, and 60% believe orientation can’t be changed, so there are 3% who think gay people are stuck that way, but still shouldn’t be allowed to get married.
Regardless, these numbers are a far cry from what polls told us when they first started asking questions about “the gays”. In 1977, only 43% of people thought gay sex should even be legal, and in 1996, only 27% of Americans thought homosexuals should be afforded the right of marriage.
72% of Pew respondents said that they felt gay marriage was “inevitable”. With the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges by the end of the month, I guess we might be about to find out.