October 13, 2009
New Pew data show more Americans support civil unions
A new study from the Pew Forum offers a rich collection of data on attitudes toward same-sex marriage and homosexuality more generally. The highlights:
A clear majority of Americans (57%) favors allowing gay and lesbian couples to enter into legal agreements with each other that would give them many of the same rights as married couples, a status commonly known as civil unions. This finding marks a slight uptick in support for civil unions and appears to continue a significant long-term trend since the question was first asked in Pew Research Center surveys in 2003, when support for civil unions stood at 45%.
Over the past year, support for civil unions has grown significantly among those who oppose same-sex marriage (24% in August 2008 to 30% in 2009) while remaining stable among those who favor same-sex marriage. At the same time, opponents of same-sex marriage continue to outnumber supporters overall. An August 2009 Pew Research Center survey finds that 53% oppose allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally, compared with 39% who support same-sex marriage, numbers that are virtually unchanged over the past year.
Supporters of same-sex marriage are divided over the best way to pursue its legalization; 45% favor pushing hard to legalize it as soon as possible, while 42% of same-sex marriage advocates say they should not push too hard to legalize same-sex marriages right away because this might risk creating a backlash against gays and lesbians.
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Nearly half of the public (49%) says homosexual behavior is morally wrong, while 9% say it is morally acceptable and 35% say it is not a moral issue. A similar number says abortion is morally wrong (52%), while far fewer see moral impropriety in divorce (29%) or drinking alcohol (15%).
Blacks are much more likely to think that homosexuality is morally wrong (64%) than whites (48%) or Hispanics (43%). At least half of those ages 30 and older say homosexuality is wrong, compared with fewer than four-in-ten (38%) among those under age 30. And a slim majority of Americans with a high school education or less see homosexual behavior as morally wrong (55%), compared with fewer than half among those with a college degree (40%) or some college education (46%).
October 13, 2009 | Permalink
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