In Gay Marriage Debate, Both Supporters and Opponents See Legal Recognition as ‘Inevitable’

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As support for gay marriage continues to increase, nearly three-quarters of Americans – 72% – say that legal recognition of same-sex marriage is “inevitable.” This includes 85% of gay marriage supporters, as well as 59% of its opponents.


The national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted May 1-5 among 1,504 adults, finds that support for same-sex marriage continues to grow: For the first time in Pew Research Center polling, just over half (51%) of Americans favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally. Yet the issue remains divisive, with 42% saying they oppose legalizing gay marriage. Opposition to gay marriage – and to societal acceptance of homosexuality more generally – is rooted in religious attitudes, such as the belief that engaging in homosexual behavior is a sin.

At the same time, more people today have gay or lesbian acquaintances, which is associated with acceptance of homosexuality and support for gay marriage. Nearly nine-in-ten Americans (87%) personally know someone who is gay or lesbian (up from 61% in 1993). About half (49%) say a close family member or one of their closest friends is gay or lesbian. About a quarter (23%) say they know a lot of people who are gay or lesbian, and 31% know a gay or lesbian person who is raising children. The link between these experiences and attitudes about homosexuality is strong. For example, roughly two-thirds (68%) of those who know a lot of people who are gay or lesbian favor gay marriage, compared with just 32% of those who don’t know anyone.

Written By: Pew Research
continue to source article at people-press.org

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  1. You know which group I respect most of all? People who personally believe homosexuality is a sin, but support ‘gay marriage’ nonetheless because they recognise the importance of equal rights and religious freedom.

    • In reply to #1 by Sjoerd Westenborg:

      You know which group I respect most of all? People who personally believe homosexuality is a sin, but support ‘gay marriage’ nonetheless because they recognise the importance of equal rights and religious freedom.

      Very similarly, I lose respect for gays who can accept that gayness is about sexual orientation and yet regard bisexuality as behavior (e.g. if you ended a gay relationship for a straight one, you’re betraying the cause which is as bad as being accused of going through a phase)

      Similarly, I resent that we have to fight for social equality one freaking fringe group at a time, rather than understanding that everyone is entitled to the same degree of personal liberty, and recognition as a citizen and human being.

      Gays are not pedophiles or rapists. Atheists have moral grounding. Goths are neither violent nor devil-worshipers. Gamers are not violent. Muslims are not terrorists. Mormons are real Christians.

    • In reply to #1 by Sjoerd Westenborg:

      You know which group I respect most of all? People who personally believe homosexuality is a sin, but support ‘gay marriage’ nonetheless because they recognise the importance of equal rights and religious freedom.

      These are the most irrational and contradictory of them all!
      They support something which is against their personal belief and entire sense of reality!

      • In reply to #20 by vegetarian.vege:

        In reply to #1 by Sjoerd Westenborg:

        You know which group I respect most of all? People who personally believe homosexuality is a sin, but support ‘gay marriage’ nonetheless because they recognise the importance of equal rights and religious freedom.

        These are the most irrational and contradictory of them all! They support something which is against their personal belief and entire sense of reality!

        Well, that was me while I was still Catholic. And for me at least, it was one of the steps in the process of shedding the Catholicism I believed in because I was raised that way. This group is open to other points of view and may be in the process of change.

  2. In reply to #1 by Sjoerd Westenborg:

    You know which group I respect most of all? People who personally believe homosexuality is a sin, but support ‘gay marriage’ nonetheless because they recognise the importance of equal rights and religious freedom.

    I don’t know if I’d respect them more than someone with the same attidute but doesn’t believe homosexuality is a sin.

    Of course someone’s personal faith isn’t the defining factor in judging someone’s character and there are plenty of theists I respect, but I can’t say I wouldn’t respect an atheist more than a believer, all other merits being equal.

    You also have to consider, if they believe homosexuality is a sin, but support gay marriage, then according to their beliefs they’re condoning something they believe others will be punished for in the afterlife.
    Some serious cognitive dissonance there.

  3. If you look no deeper than the epidermis of the skin of those who are vehemently against same-sex marraige – you will find a Bronze Age god. I have yet to hear of anti-theist who is against gay marriage.

  4. Maybe I just wasn’t paying attention but I do find it remarkable how this went from a non-issue to laws being enacted – or well on their way to it – in a number of countries, seemingly in the space of three or four years. One thing that the anti-brigade have right in terms of the UK situation is that there really didn’t seem to be any big campaign for equal marriage rights. Most gay people I know seemed genuinely content with civil partnerships. It was almost, “What, we can have marriage too? Ok then.” I give Cameron rare kudos for sticking to his guns and pushing it through.

  5. Backward countries lose their most valuable citizens to emigration. Would you live in Zimbabwe?

    If the USA dawdles on this too long, gays will start leaving for Europe or Canada. A lot of culture will go with them. Then culture-loving people will follow. In the end, you are left with a cesspool like Zimbabwe filled with superstitious boobs.

  6. I don’t care so much about gay marriage. Civil partnerships are fine for everybody, as far as I’m concerned. We all could do without marriage. I support gay marriage because it pisses off Catholics, but I think it’s a fake problem. What is important is the right to adoption and medically assisted procreation. Marriage is just a symbol. Marriage without kids doesn’t mean much.

    • In reply to #8 by Ornicar:

      I don’t care so much about gay marriage. Civil partnerships are fine for everybody, as far as I’m concerned. We all could do without marriage. I support gay marriage because it pisses off Catholics, but I think it’s a fake problem. What is important is the right to adoption and medically assisted pr…

      I can understand you feeling this way and that is fine, However this is a thing that homosexuals have been told by society you cannot have. “Nigger” is after all a symbol too, just some ink or pixels in this case but it carries significant impact because of what meaning, history and social message that goes behind it.

      For many Homosexuals with all their family married and celebrating weddings in a conventional manner with all the bells and whistles then being excluded from that even to the extent of being told they shouldn’t want it because it is just a symbol, is excluding them from large aspects of society and re-enforcing how much they are held apart for the rest of society.

      I suspect many feel as you do and being part of that out group may well make them more than most question what symbols in society mean etc. But I’m sure for most they would really want to at least have a choice in the matter. They are fighting for the right to make that decision for themselves.

    • In reply to #8 by Ornicar:

      I don’t care so much about gay marriage. Civil partnerships are fine for everybody, as far as I’m concerned. I support gay marriage because it pisses off Catholics, but I think it’s a fake problem. What is important is right to adoption and medically assisted procreation. Marriage is just a symbol. Marriage without kids doesn’t mean much. We all could do without marriage.

      What about if during the Civil Rights movement in the 60s, as a sop to Southern voters it was decreed that coloreds would have ostensibly the same voting rights as whites; that is, a black vote would be worth the same as a white vote, it would just be called something different, and wouldn’t be sanctioned by God.

      Or how about if a bill were introduced proposing that atheists should no longer be allowed to get married. It doesn’t matter to us if a non-existent deity approves or disapproves of our union; most of us don’t go for the big church wedding anyway, and as long as our inheritance rights are not affected and insurance premiums don’t go up the only thing we’d have lost is the right to call ourselves married.

      No biggie. After all,

      What’s in a name? That which we call a rose

      By any other name would smell as sweet.

      • In reply to #13 by Katy Cordeth:
        What I mean is that, in a truly secular country, marriage would be completely replaced by civil partnerships. Instead of clinging to a dead branch, gay rights activists should concentrate on improving existing civil partnerships and rights to adoption or medically assisted procreation for gay couples. That would certainly be more constructive than wanting to get absolutely “married” when about nobody else wants that any more.

  7. @Uriel-238:
    “Very similarly, I lose respect for gays who can accept that gayness is about sexual orientation and yet regard bisexuality as behavior (e.g. if you ended a gay relationship for a straight one, you’re betraying the cause which is as bad as being accused of going through a phase)
    Similarly, I resent that we have to fight for social equality one freaking fringe group at a time, rather than understanding that everyone is entitled to the same degree of personal liberty, and recognition as a citizen and human being.
    Gays are not pedophiles or rapists. Atheists have moral grounding. Goths are neither violent nor devil-worshipers. Gamers are not violent. Muslims are not terrorists. Mormons are real Christians.”

    I’m pretty sure those types of ‘gays’ are in the minority. Anyone can be closed minded, even those in a minority group.

    And I agree with your sentiment about regocnising social equality as a whole and not one group at a time. To comment on paulmcuk’s point, I think this is probably why there has been such a drastic turn from same-sex marriage being a ‘non-issue’ just a few years ago to being an almost worldwide revolution. People realise that this is just another in a long line of social injustices, and are coming to terms with that reality.

    As for your list at the end, the very last one seems to me to be a bit of an anomaly. Surely whether or not Mormons are Christians is a matter of definition, and to be fought out between Mormons and (other)Christians.
    A bigger question for me would be ‘Is Mormonism even a religion?’ it seems to have far more in common with Scientology than it does with Christianity.

  8. In reply to #9 by old-toy-boy:

    Pardon my ignorance, but what legaly is the difference between gay marriage & civil partnerships ? In the UK, or USA?

    There’s not much difference at all in the UK. But that’s not really the point. The point is for same-sex couples to be able to legally declare their partner as their spouse or husbands or wife. It is more fo a social inequality than a legal one.

    In the USA however, as far as I’m aware, there are some legal differences in regards to next-of-kin, inheritance, hospital visitation rights and that sort of thing.

  9. Very similarly, I lose respect for gays who can accept that gayness is about sexual orientation and yet regard bisexuality as behavior (e.g. if you ended a gay relationship for a straight one, you’re betraying the cause which is as bad as being accused of going through a phase)

    Oh, the world thinks it knows so much about stuff they know nothing about. Pity that few can tend to their own garden.

  10. Ornicar: What I mean is that, in a truly secular country, marriage would be completely replaced by civil partnerships. Instead of clinging to a dead branch, gay rights activists should concentrate on improving existing civil partnerships and rights to adoption or medically assisted procreation for gay couples. That would certainly be more constructive than wanting to get absolutely “married” when about nobody else wants that any more.

    I’m not sure who ‘nobody else’ is, but the vast majority still view marriage as being superior to a civil partnership.
    It is not a religous institution either, civil marriage is entirely secular and incredibly popular, I know plenty of secular or non-religious people who have opted to get married, including my atheist brother and sister-in-law.
    Unless you can convert all existing marriages to civil partnerships and do away with marriage, with the support of the public, then a civil partnership will never suffice.
    The rights of same-sex couples regarding adoption and inheritance and the like is improving all the time, but what use is there in fighting for every single nuance when same-sex marriage will solve them all in one swoop? It’s not as if it’s an unattainable premise, dozens of countries all over the world are legalising gay marriage, which just goes to show how much the institution of marriage is revered worldwide. So rather than throwing it away in this country, only to stand out as the exception, we should make it inclusive like the rest of the world.

  11. Exactly, Seraphor. I live in a country where gay marriage has been recently legalised, against massive Christian opposition. Civil partnerships existed and needed to be improved (to include adoption and the like), but instead, now, gay people can get married. They still have no right to adoption, medically assisted procreation, etc, but they can play to make believe they are heterosexual with a wedding dress. The stupid thing being that the number of marriage per year has been divided by 2 between 1972 ans 2012, in the same country. That’s giving the gay a bone to chew ; give them marriage that nobody (but religious zealots) want any more, and then reassure the religious right by not allowing adoption.

    I’d say, get rid of marriage altogether. It is a religious tradition. We don’t need that. It is meaningless. Let’s improve civil partnerships so they include fundamental family rights (adoption…) for everybody.

    Calling it marriage or not is a trivially irrelevant issue. Adoption, procreation and civil rights are the real issue.

    I’m still pretty amused that Christians were pissed off we touched their holly symbol of marriage, but politically, and for gay rights, it was a useless and even counter-productive move.

  12. The big reason for gay’s to marry, as I understand it, is mostly for financial reasons. Insurance benefits, income tax, ect. Otherwise, you’re beating a dead horse. A slip of paper that say’s ‘We’re married’ is worth squat. You don’t need an official OK from the powers that be to have a meaningful relationship. I lived with the same woman for over 15 years, and the only reason we ever got married is we let our daughter talk us into it. We had our 3 kids as witnesses. It was kinda silly. The kids enjoyed it though. We spent another 14 years as a married couple, and believe me, it was exactly the same with the exception that I could have her on the insurance policy with the kids.

  13. What is the actual science of homosexuality? I hear it constantly quoted that exactly 10% of the population is gay. But that is scientifically absurd, no other attribute amongst a varied population is constant despite variations in environment and genetic make-up. Both Kinsey and Freud believed that Homosexuality was mutable and effected by society, so why do we not believe now that homosexuality is not itself an unscientific religious belief like polygamy or a mental illness like depression or anorexia?

    I think some people are concerned that if normal biological pairing and the consequent property ownership by families is not protected (in some way) then the state will gain control of too much of our lives, a fear which has been shown to be validated many times throughout history. This would surely be the case if governments become the sole arbiters of who can have children (after all they are the ones that choose which gay couples are fit to be parents).

    There is some evidence for this idea, as marriage is in decline and although the rich are not that adversely affected by frequent divorce, the children of the poor are massively more so, which we do not see in the popular media. If young adults, who are scientifically proven to be chemically confused by their hormones through their age of majority, are bombarded with homosexual ideation through the media then are we that sure that it will not lead first to an anti marriage majority and then to an anti straight / anti monogamy majority?

    I see a potential in the spread of homosexuality misinformation by the liberal elite, for creating an unstoppable momentum behind the flow of children from those whose biological parents have had their resources pulled away from them by impossibly unfair governments, to the those who have been chosen as state approved as parents. It seems to me to be the subversion of the poor by the rich for the rich’s own selfish and often sexually perverted pleasures.

    The fecundity of society has to be a moral issue surely if it is to have consequences on our children?

    Can we ever actually have some unbiased science on the subject?

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