Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Pew Survey on Homosexuality

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life recently released results from a survey on Americans' opinions on homosexuality, marriage, and civil unions. 57% of Americans now support allowing gay and lesbian couples to enter into civil unions "that would give them many of the same rights as married couples." In 2003, this percentage was at 45%. 39% of Americans favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry.

Disturbingly, 49% of Americans still believe that homosexuality is "morally wrong." 64% of Americans believe that gays and lesbians face "a lot" of discrimination.

Demographically, among those most opposed to same-sex marriage are men (59%), blacks (66%), those 65 and older (67%), those with a high school diploma or less (59%), conservative Republicans (81%), white Evangelicals attending church weekly (77%), and those living in the South (60%). Those who are more likely to support same-sex marriage are women (43%), Hispanics (45%), 18-29 year-olds (58%), college graduates (49%), liberal Democrats (72%), those unaffiliated with religious groups (60%), and those living in the West (47%).

For the most part, these statistics are not surprising. Support for marriage equality and civil unions has been increasing over the years and levels of tolerance differ largely among political, sex, racial, age, and religious lines. For instance, it is not surprising that men are more opposed to marriage equality than are women, given that "marriage defense" and "gender complementarity" rests on an ideology of male supremacy. And also, many doods are just icked out by the thought of two guys getting it on. Further, given that conservative Republicanism combined with Christian ideology is pretty much the unexaggerated real-life embodiment of The Patriarchy, there's a reason that the archetype of Mr. Average Marriage Defender is an old, white, conservative Christian dood.

However, I was a bit surprised by the percentage of Hispanics who reported favoring same-sex marriage, given that this population also tends to be Catholic. Although, Catholics reported being most supportive of LGBT rights over white protestant mainline, white protestant evangelical, and black protestant respondents. Are some Catholics, unlike Protestants who tend to take things so literally, just so used to rejecting what the Pope says when it comes to matters of morality that they take his condemnations of homosexuality with a grain of salt? In any event, I do find it encouraging that the fastest-growing minority group in the US is relatively supportive of LGBT rights.

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