June 19, 2013

Latinos’ changing views of same-sex marriage

Latinos’ views of same-sex marriage have changed dramatically in recent years. In 2012 for the first time, more Latinos said they favored same-sex marriage than opposed it (52% versus 34%) according to a Pew Hispanic Center survey. This is a reversal from six years earlier, when one-third (31%) of Latinos favored same-sex marriage and more than half (56%) opposed it. This shift in views tracks with that of the general public, whose opinions on same-sex marriage have also changed in recent years.

But even though more Hispanics now favor same-sex marriage than oppose it, not all Hispanic groups hold the same view.

According to the National Survey of Latinos, support for allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally is highest among Latino adults with no religious affiliation (71%), Latinos ages 18 to 29 (68%), Latinos who identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party (60%) and Latinos with some college education or more (63%).

By contrast, the strongest opposition to same-sex marriage comes from Evangelical Hispanics, 66% of whom oppose allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally. Additionally, 60% of Hispanics ages 65 and older and 51% of Hispanics who identify with or lean toward the Republican Party oppose legalizing same-sex marriage.

It’s worth noting that all of these trends by age, political party and religious affiliation among Latinos track the general public’s trend as well.

Since 2006, support for same-sex marriage has grown by 20 percentage points or more for nearly all major demographic subgroups of Latinos, reflecting changes in Latinos’ views toward gays and lesbians.

However, for some subgroups, views have changed little. Among Latinos ages 65 and older, in 2006, just 16% said they were in favor of same-sex marriage. By 2012, only 18% said they were in favor of it. Similarly, among Latinos who identify as politically Independent, 35% were in favor in 2006 compared with 37% in 2012.

3:06 p.m.: This post has been updated. Percentages have been corrected for each Latino religious subgroup and also for each Latino political party subgroup.

Topics: Gay Marriage and Homosexuality

  1. Photo of Mark Hugo Lopez

    is director of Hispanic research at Pew Research Center.

  2. Photo of Danielle Cuddington

    is a research assistant focusing on global attitudes at Pew Research Center.


  1. John4 years ago

    The runaway train of the sexual revolution will not stop at same-sex marriage.” Just as civil unions were a mere stepping stone to reach same-sex “marriage,” the movement to redefine marriage will continue on its reckless course until it shatters the concept of true marriage and family. But don’t take my word for it.

    See what pro-homosexual writers, professors and activists say for themselves. It’s a real eye-opener.


    1. Argos4 years ago

      Nice “scare quotes” there around “marriage,” “John.” Unfortunately, the quotes you’ve linked to don’t really measure up. Some (Signorile) are taken out of context. Others are archaic (sexual freedom, not marriage or even equal rights, was the main concern of many early gay activists). And others are from people far, far out of the gay mainstream.

      While you can always find quotes from people who don’t want marriage and want to stay as far out of the mainstream as possible, a good majority of lesbian and gay people want what you do — a satisfying career, a loving family, a safe place to live. And a family that enjoys the same legal protections as yours.

      What is true is that many families — whether headed by a same-sex couple or not — no longer meet your definition of family. That makes them no less a family than the 1950s-style nuclear model so near and dear to people like you. Is that redefining family or marriage? If so, I have a difficult time seeing how that’s a negative thing. In fact, both concepts are stronger for it.

      We’re fortunate to live in a society where government must have a rational basis for denying rights to a particular group; “gay people are icky” or “men kissing each other make Jesus cry” don’t count. Sorry, bro.