Most Americans see gay marriage as inevitable: survey

A woman puts a ring on the hand of another woman in a civil union ceremony after Colorado's civil union law went into effect in Denver May 1, 2013. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
A woman puts a ring on the hand of another woman in a civil union ceremony after Colorado’s civil union law went into effect in Denver on May 1. Credit: Reuters

Nearly three-quarters of Americans, including a majority of those who personally object to extending marriage rights to same-sex couples, say legal recognition of gay marriage is “inevitable,” according to a survey by the Pew Research Center released Thursday.

The survey found that just over half of Americans favor giving gays and lesbians the right to marry, while 42 percent oppose legalizing gay marriage.

In March, a Pew survey found 49 percent of Americans favored same-sex marriage and 44 percent were opposed.

“It just keeps ticking up and up and up, and we wanted to register that we’ve crossed that threshold,” Michael Dimock, the director of the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, said in an interview.

Seventy-two percent of those surveyed said they believed legal recognition of same-sex marriage was inevitable, including 85 percent of gay marriage supporters and 59 percent of opponents.

Dimock said that sense of inevitability about gay marriage is shared by Democrats, Republicans and independents in equal measure, with more than 70 percent of each group expressing that view. “What stood out most to us is this very broad sense that legal recognition of same-sex marriage is inevitable,” he said.

It was not immediately clear how much recent media headlines had influenced this belief, though gay rights advocates have been celebrating a string of landmark victories.

In 2011, President Barack Obama declared gays and lesbians would be able to serve openly in the military and the following year he became the first sitting president to endorse same-sex marriage. Meanwhile, the number of U.S. states allowing gay nuptials has grown from six to 12 since last November.

The U.S. Supreme Court is due to rule soon on a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act, a 1996 law that restricted federal recognition of marriage to heterosexual couples, as well as a challenge to a 2008 California voter initiative that banned same-sex marriage in the state.

Increased visibility

According to the Pew survey, the growing acceptance of homosexuality has gone hand in hand with the increased visibility of gays and lesbians in people’s lives.

Roughly two-thirds of Americans who said they know a lot of people who are gay or lesbian favor gay marriage, while fewer than a third of people who said they do not know any gays or lesbians favor gay marriage.

Overall, nearly nine in 10 Americans personally know someone who is gay or lesbian, an increase from six in 10 Americans a decade ago. Young people, urbanites, women and less religious people were all more likely to have gay acquaintances.

About half of Americans say a close family member or one of their closest friends is gay or lesbian.

The survey also found a large shift in the broader question of how homosexuality should be viewed by society – an issue that split Americans down the middle a decade ago, according to Pew. Now, six in 10 say it should be accepted while about three in 10 say it should be discouraged.

That view extended to how Americans would react to learning that their child was gay or lesbian. More than half of respondents said they would not be upset, while 21 percent said they would be somewhat upset and 19 percent said very upset.

Americans are evenly split over whether homosexual behavior should be considered a sin. Moral considerations and religious beliefs were the main reason given by those who oppose same-sex marriage.

“My religious background taught me that this was something that was taboo and not accepted,” a 62-year-old man whose name was not released told researchers, according to Pew.

The telephone survey of 1,504 adults was conducted from May 1 to May 5 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.

On Tuesday, Pew released a survey of global attitudes toward gays and lesbians and next week it will release its first survey of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Hillary Clinton headed to Boston for women's leadership…

Former U.S. Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is set to visit Massachusetts Wednesday amid continuing speculation about making another bid for the presidency in 2016.

Local

The Boston Marathon: Step by step, the race…

For over a century, the Boston Marathon has been an event centered around sportsmanship, endurance and athleticism, but there’s no denying the face of the renowned race has been changed…

Local

Boston Marathon: Marathoners ready to run, honor victims

Scores of runners will cross the Boston Marathon starting line in Hopkinton Monday and embark on a 26.2-mile journey to Boston in honor of the victims.

Local

MIT student, Rhodes scholar, dies

Eliana Hechter, a student at MIT and Harvard, died, her family said. The announcement was posted on MIT's website.

Television

Discovery cancels 'Everest Jump Live' special in wake…

The Discovery Channel has indicated it will not be moving forward with "Everest Jump Live," a planned special about mountain climber Joby Ogwyn's effort to…

The Word

'X-Men' director Bryan Singer drama continues

  News broke late last week that "X-Men" and "The Usual Suspects" director Bryan Singer is being sued by a man who said Singer molested…

The Word

Miley Cyrus cancels more dates, tweeting from hospital

Miley Cyrus is reportedly so sick that she's had to postpone more tour dates. We know this because she has been sitting in a hospital…

Music

Loop are, er, um, back in the loop

Experimental noise rock band Loop's three mid-1980s to early-1990s albums, “Heavens End,” “Fade Out” and “A Gilded Eternity,” were mercifully reissued.

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox defeat Orioles, 4-2

Brock Holt the difference in the Red Sox' win

NHL

NHL video highlights & analysis: Red Wings dump…

NHL video highlights & analysis: Red Wings dump Bruins in Game 1

MLB

MLB video highlights: Orioles top Red Sox, 8-4…

John Lackey roughed up for second straight outing

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox score two in…

Lester shines in Red Sox win over White Sox

Travel

Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…

Home

Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…

Travel

Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…

Parenting

4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.