While public attitudes haven't moved consistently in gays' and lesbians' favor every year, the general trend is clearly in that direction, according to Gallup's latest annual Values and Beliefs survey, conducted each May.
There is a gradual cultural shift under way in Americans' views towards gay individuals and gay rights. For the first time in American history, a record 52% of Americans perceive gay and lesbian relationships as morally acceptable, while the percentage of poll respondents calling these relations "morally wrong" dropped to 43%, the lowest in a decade.
Interestingly, the biggest change was seen almost exclusively among men, particularly men younger than 50. The biggest change (20%) was found among men aged 18 to 49.
Gallup found greater movement toward acceptance among Independents
(11%) and Democrats (9%) than among Republicans (9%), and a big jump in
acceptance among moderates (14%). Liberals were already widely
accepting of gay relations in 2006, and have remained that way , while
conservatives' acceptance continues to run low,
Most notably, there has been a significant jump in acceptance among Catholics (16%), nearly three times the increase seen among Protestants (6%). Acceptance among Americans with no religious identity has expanded as well (11%).
Gay marriage has gained more acceptance among Americans as well. Last year, 57% were opposed to gay marriage while 40% approved, but this year 53% opposed gay marriage while 44% approved. Compare that to when Gallup first polled Americans about the legality of gay marriage in a 1996, and 68% were opposed while only 27% were in favor.
By geographical region, a majority of Eastern and Western residents favored of gay marriage, and roughly 6 in 10 Midwestern and Southern residents opposed it.
Kelvin Lynch is a writer, gay activist, political watchdog, pop culture enthusiast, and small business consultant who lives in San Francisco.
Reprinted with permission from Examiner.com