New Poll: Gay Marriage Support in at All Time High
A new survey released Wednesday found that support for gay marriage in the United States is at an all time high since Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage ten years ago, Reuters reports.
The new data found 53 percent of the 3,509 Americans surveyed by the Public Religion Research Instate said they back marriage rights for same-sex couples. This is a 21 percent increase from 2003, when just 32 percent said they support gay marriage. Massachusetts became the first state in the country to legalize same-sex marriage in 2003.
There are 17 states, and the District of Columbia, that recognize gay marriage. Some of those states found their bans on same-sex marriage were unconstitutional not long after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last June that same-sex married couples were eligible for federal benefits.
In the same survey, fewer Americans who identified as religious opposed gay marriage. Thirty-one percent of people surveyed between the ages 18 and 33, said negative church teachings or treatment of same-sex couples were significant factors in leaving their childhood religion.
"This new research provides further evidence that negative teachings on this issue have hurt churches' ability to attract and retain young people," Robert Jones, chief executive of the institute, said.
The survey also found that Jews were most likely to favor gay marriage -- 83 percent said they back the controversial issue. Fifty-eight of white Roman Catholics and 56 percent of Hispanic Catholics said they support gay marriage while 46 percent of Hispanic Protestants said they back it and 49 percent against it.
Seventy-three percent of Americans not affiliated with a religion said they are in favor of same-sex marriage.
The survey also looked at America's different regions. The majorities in the Northeast, West and Midwest all backed gay marriage while people from the South were split: 48 percent opposed it and 48 percent favored same-sex marriage.
The poll also found that many Americans have misconceptions about the LGBT community: just 15 percent of people surveyed correctly said that it is legal to refuse to hire someone based on sexual orientation or gender identify. Additionally, those surveyed over-estimated the population of the LGBT community, saying 20 percent of the population identified as LGBT. Only 14 percent of Americans guessed correctly, saying the American LGBT population is 5 percent or less.