Gallup: Americans of all stripes coming around on the gays

Americans are increasingly alright with people being gay. The latest of Gallup’s annual survey on the subject matches abounding anecdotal evidence, including the increase of normative positive gay themes in the media. Gallup reports that the percentage of Americans who view gay relationships as morally acceptable crossed the 50 percent threshold this year, reaching 52 percent. Gallup notes that although a slight majority of Americans still oppose gay marriage, the trend on acceptance of homosexuality and gay rights flows in one direction: toward equality.

The poll results also document the cultural divide separating Republicans and Democrats or conservatives and liberals. The big movement seems to be coming from moderates and independents, who are swinging quickly toward acceptance of gay relationships as “morally acceptable.” The percentage of gay-friendly moderates jumped 14 percent to 64 percent since 2006. The percentage of gay-friendly independent voters jumped 11 percent to 61 percent during the same time period.

Individuals self identifying as moderates made up 36 percent of the electorate in 2009 in a yearly survey released in January 2010. Independents likewise made up 36 percent according to Gallup’s survey, members of the categories certainly overlapping.

The percentage of Democrats and Republicans, too, also increased. The numbers of gay-friendly Democrats rose 9 percent to 61 percent in May 2010 from 52 percent in 2006. Most significant perhaps, the number of gay-friendly Republicans rose 5 percent to 35 percent this year from 30 percent in 2006.

Also revealing is that, despite Church edicts and high-profile anti-gay local stances, the numbers of Catholics who have come to accept gay relationships as morally acceptable jumped 16 percent, from 46 percent in 2006 to 62 percent in 2010. Protestant numbers lag by comparison but still reach close to half at 46 percent who view homosexual relationships as acceptable. Those with no religion or who subscribe to other non-Christian religions showed high acceptance of homsexuality at roughly 85 percent.

Americans are less supportive of gay marriage than of gay relationships. Gallup found in a separate poll also taken in May that 53 percent of Americans oppose gay marriage and 43 percent support it. Yet even those numbers support the larger trend: this year’s 53 percent opposed to gay marriage is tied with the lowest level of disapproval to date.

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Joseph Boven

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