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

California passes 'yes-means-yes' campus sexual assault bill

Californian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on…

National

Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all…

By Stephanie NebehayGENEVA (Reuters) - Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of Friday, but many remain trapped by the advance…

International

North Korean leader's money manager defects in Russia:…

A senior North Korean banking official who managed money for leader Kim Jong Un has defected in Russia and was seeking asylum in a third country, a South Korean newspaper…

Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 29,…

The Department of Transportation and NYPD said there may be residual delays near all of the street closures on August 29, 31 and 31. Several streets and avenues will be…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…