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
National

Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas concert, condition unknown,…

Singer Miley Cyrus was hospitalized on Tuesday night after suffering what is believed to be 'a severe allergic reaction' to antibiotics medication. The 21-year-old Bangerz…

News

Explosions in new Boston Marathon bomb panic, 'twisted'…

A fresh Boston Marathon terror alert, which caused Bomb Squad officers to order an evacuation while two controlled explosions were carried out, was today being…

National

Reddit boosts news capabilities in social media turf…

By Jennifer SabaNEW YORK (Reuters) - Reddit, a website with a retro-'90s look and space-alien mascot that tracks everything from online news to celebrity Q&As,…

Local

New York joins accord to strengthen popular vote…

New York State joined a nationwide effort that would gives the state's 29 electoral votes for president to the candidate who wins the national popular vote.

Entertainment

Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas concert, condition unknown,…

Singer Miley Cyrus was hospitalized on Tuesday night after suffering what is believed to be 'a severe allergic reaction' to antibiotics medication. The 21-year-old Bangerz…

Television

'Orphan Black's' Jordan Gavaris talks Felix's Season 2…

Jordan Gavaris plays heroically helpful foster sibling Felix to main clone Sarah on "Orphan Black." We talked to him about what’s ahead for him in…

Going Out

Accomplice Tour: New York (Spoiler Alert)

When I signed up for the Accomplice show tour, I had no idea what I was in for. But every grimy job comes with a great reward.

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, April 15: 'New Girl,'…

'New Girl' Nick and Jess are hiding their breakup from the other loft residents. And Winston passes the police academy exam! That guy needed some…

NBA

Nets miss chance to clinch No. 5 seed…

Nets head coach Jason Kidd expressed little concern after a 109-98 loss to the Knicks, but others seemed to disagree.

NFL

Jets confident despite Chris Johnson leaving with no…

Jets fans clamored for a playmaker on offense all offseason. It looked like they were going to land that player on Tuesday when Chris Johnson…

NBA

Knicks, Nets rivalry never materialized despite national attention

When the NBA schedule was released, the league anticipated an intense rivalry between the Nets and Knicks with all four games slated for national TV.

NBA

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could…

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could the Mavericks surprise?

Home

Steal home decorating tips from Nattystyle blogger Natalie…

Despite the towering ceilings and enviable exposed brick, it’s easy to see how Natalie Decleve’s apartment could be considered a challenge. Perched above the streets…

Home

How to plant a garden in the city

Small on space but big on gardening? You can still have that welcoming oasis of fresh air with an urban garden. Peter Smith, owner of…

Style

Personalize your massage at a private practice

CityTouch customizes spa treatments to meet client's needs.

Style

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show moving to England

It will still broadcast on CBS this fall.