America Softening To Gay Marriage

Wed. July 2, 2003 12:00 AM by

New York City - A new poll on American attitudes towards gay marriage shows that even though a majority of people disapprove, more people than ever before are accepting of gay relationships.

The Gallup Poll for USA Today and CNN was taken over the weekend, following last week's landmark ruling by the Supreme Court that guaranteed gays equal protection under the law, ( story) and two weeks after a Canadian court ruled gay marriage legal ( story).

Of those polled on the weekend, 55% said same-sex marriages should not be recognized while 39% said they should be valid. When the same question was asked in March 1996, 68% said gay and lesbianl marriages should not be recognized by law, while 27% believed they should.

This weekend's poll also showed that younger adults are more accepting of the idea of gay marriage. 61% of those age 18-29 said same-sex marriages should be valid, while only 37% of those age 30-49 felt the same.

Geography also played a factor. 53% of respondents in the West said such unions should be recognized legally, as compared with 38% in the East. In the South, 32% said same-sex marriages should be valid; in the Midwest, 36%.

"Twenty years ago this issue wasn't even in the consciousness of the overwhelming majority of Americans," says John D'Emilio of the Gender and Women's Studies Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago. "And now to have virtually two out of five Americans say 'yes,' that's very significant." But he says there will be a slow shift on the issue: "I don't believe it's something that will happen soon."

On the weekend, Senate Majority Leader said he would support an amendment to the Constitution banning gay marriage, sparking outrage from LGBT political groups. ( story)

A poll taken in Canada last month following the Chretien government's decision not to appeal an Ontario court ruling legalizing gay marriage found that 54% of respondents supported same-sex marriages while 44% were opposed.

by Doug Windsor Newscenter
New York Bureau
©® 2003

This article originally appeared on Republished with permission.