June 21, 2013

Ahead of same-sex marriage decisions, what you need to know

The Supreme Court is expected to rule imminently on two laws seeking to block same-sex marriage — the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8. Here’s a summary of major findings related to homosexuality, marriage and society, drawn mostly from the Pew Research Center’s multi-part series of reports, “LGBT in Changing Times”:

Public opinion on same-sex marriage

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51% — Percentage of American public that supports same-sex marriage. It is legal in 12 states and Washington, D.C.

14% — Share of American public who say they’ve changed their minds and now favor same-sex marriage.

72% — Percentage of Americans who say legal recognition of same-sex marriage is inevitable, regardless of whether they support or oppose it.

5-to-1 — Ratio of news stories this spring containing more statements supporting same-sex marriage to stories with more statements opposing it.

Public acceptance of homosexuality

+11 — Percentage-point increase in the share of Americans who say society should accept homosexuality (from 49% in 2004 to 60% earlier this year).

88% — Percentage saying so in Spain (the most accepting among 39 countries surveyed)

1% — Percentage saying so in Nigeria (the least accepting country surveyed).

92% — Percentage of LGBT adults in America who say society has become more accepting of them over the past 10 years.

92% — Percentage of LGBT adults who say society will be even more accepting 10 years from now.

LGBT identity

10 — Median age at which gay men in America said they first thought they might be gay.

15 — Median age at which they knew for sure.

13 — Median age at which American lesbians said they first thought they might be lesbian.

18 — Median age at which they knew for sure.

LGBT lives

39% — Percentage of U.S. lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender adults who say they’ve been rejected by a friend or family member at some point in their lives because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

6%  — Percentage who say this has happened in the past year.

48% — Percentage of LGBT adults who don’t identify with any particular religion (versus 20% of the U.S. general public).

56% — Percentage of LGBT adults who identify as Democrats (versus 8% as Republicans)

Desire for marriage

56% — Percentage of unmarried gay men in America who say they’d like to get married someday.

58% — Percentage of unmarried U.S. lesbians who say they would.

45% — Percentage of unmarried bisexuals who say they would.

Topics: Supreme Court, Gay Marriage and Homosexuality

  1. Photo of Drew DeSilver

    is a senior writer at Pew Research Center.


  1. Amanda4 years ago

    I’m pretty sure this is not actual research.

  2. Dr. Gilbert W. Johnson, sociologist4 years ago

    To anyone who opposes same-sex marriage, please let me explain something to you…gays (or as many religious people often refer to them- ‘homosexuals’) are not going to go away just because churches need (want) more children for their future support. Banning gay marriage will not “create strong family values,” or “protect marriage.” Re-defining the word marriage will not change the meaning, significance, security or validity of anyone’s marriage. This is baseless fear of nothing.
    Banning gay marriage will not make all gay people become straight, run to the altar and start pumping out babies for the church’s future job security needs (wants). After all, it’s really just about procreation, right? That’s the main argument. Banning gay marriage will not put the children of gay couples in a better position, nor will it destroy anyone’s religious “freedom.” And banning gay rights will not encourage gay children (through fear and rejection) to “cure” their homosexuality. You cannot cure that which is innate. And if you insist being gay is a choice, doesn’t that makes you, and everyone else bi-sexual. If you disagree, then you believe sexuality is innate. So which is it?
    The fear based lie that homosexuality will be “forcibly taught in schools” has yet to occur, is pure speculation, and would do no harm anyway. Nobody can be “taught” to be gay any more than anyone is born a Christian. Sexuality is innate, and religion is taught…just like the existence of Santa Clause.

    Selling a wedding cake to a gay couple does not destroy religious “liberty,” nor does it “fundamentally alter America.” This “religious conscience” nonsense is a condition created within the minds of bigots who are not true Christians. A true “Christian” baker would insist all wedding parties were never previously divorced, as per the bible, and that all future brides are virgins, as per the bible. Also, do cake makers shut off their electricity on the Sabbath? If not, they are taking part of biblical sin, (with the same penalty as homosexuality…death) Can a true Christian cake maker sell a cake to someone who works on the Sabbath? Why is the gay “moral law” the only one that matters to all you so-called “Christians,” can you answer me that?

    Your claims that gay marriage somehow harms you cannot be backed up by proof of any actual damage, other than your “feelings” are hurt. Oh boohoo. This is such nonsense. Have you even considered the consciences and feeling of the thousands of gays you deliberately harm? Of course not…only Jesus would, now wouldn’t he, as he judges not.

    Gay marriages were performed inside churches before heterosexual marriages were performed at all. Heterosexual marriages were first performed only on church steps. I suggest you know your history before you attempt to dictate what once was, what is, or what should be.

    The use of the words “natural marriage” has no meaning or merit. Marriage doesn’t occur in nature, but homosexuality does, and has been documented in 500 species, and observed in 1500 other species. “Natural” is just a pseudonym for “religious”, or “traditional,” just like “intelligent design” is a pseudonym for “creationism,” terms that hold no weight in courts anymore. You can try to smuggle religion into your “agenda,” but you will always get caught.

    Only one half of Americans marry, and half of those marriages end in divorce. This means only one quarter of the population is suited for marriage. This proves humans are not meant to mate for life. Marriage is NOT a “God ordained institution.” It was originally a contract between families as business and political arrangements. Women really didn’t have any say back in the good old Bronze Age days, and religion had nothing to do with it. And if marriage was God ordained, why is God so weak that he can’t keep the state sanctioning part of it separate? You cannot use religion as an authority on ANYTHING for non-religious people and laws. Your “religious liberty” nonsense argument is a bold attempt to achieve religious preference, religious privilege, and religious dominance, and you are well aware of it. “Freedom” is no factor in what the opponents preach and propose. Control is.

    The so-called “sociological evidence” that the Family Research Council depends on to validate their agenda (Regnerus study) is highly flawed and totally biased, and has been debunked by the American Psychological Association. The argument that “children do better with a mom and a dad” has nothing to do with denying rights to gay couples, whether it was true or not. It is a fear invoking smoke screen like all the other fear invoking lies the FRC, the AFA and NOM spew in the millions of dollars of voter frightening and successful TV ads. And so far, I have yet to see homosexuality taught in any school. If it is, good! It should be taught. Teaching kids about human sexuality wont “turn them gay” any more than teaching kids about the holocaust will turn kids into a modern day Hitler. But it might teach them NOT to be a Hitler.

    If the argument of denying gay couples rights because “children do better with a mom and a dad,” then by that logic, you should be able to deny my right (by a popular vote) to drive a Chevrolet, because “studies” (that Ford conducted) show Fords are safer cars to drive. How idiotic that argument now sounds.

    You never hear of a gay couple’s child getting locked in a hot car in Florida. You never hear of a gay couple’s child getting run over by her dad’s lawnmower, or a gay couple’s toddler left to drown in a bath tub, or a gay couple’s kid being shot in a drug war. I’m not saying gay parents are immune to accidents, I’m saying they aren’t necessarily worse simply because they don’t fit the “norm” of the nuclear family. So don’t tell me being heterosexual and “married” automatically makes you a better parent. You also ignore sociological studies that show positive aspects of being in a gay family. Honesty is a Christian virtue that you obviously lack or ignore.

    The simple action of using religion to “better society” by intentionally targeting and hurting a segment of it is testament to the harms religion causes vs. good. There is NOTHING that religion can do for society that cannot be done by purely secular means. Name one. (Eternal life doesn’t count, as it is nothing but an un-proven claim.) Religion only gives you a pretend poison (original sin) only to offer the pretend antidote. (Salvation through Jesus). None of which can be proven or demonstrated.

    If it’s morality you are concerned about, first read the rest of your bible. You’ll find horrors in the bible performed by and ordered by God. If you can choose to ignore them, then you can choose to ignore the ‘sin’ of homosexuality, like you already ignore the ‘sin’ of divorce, and the ‘sin’ of not being a virgin bride, and the ‘sin’ of working on the Sabbath, amongst the rest. (614 in all) I have read the bible. I’ve seen what’s in it. Have you?

    How do you decide what parts of the bible to enforce or ignore anyway? Do you just abide by what you are taught and told, and have no moral reasoning ability of your own? It seems so. If God told you to kill your child, would you? If God told you to be someone’s slave, would you be okay with that? It’s all in the bible.

    And just why is homosexuality a sin in the first place? Anyone? Because God says so? That’s not good enough for me. Procreating is not mandatory. God also says slavery is okay. Is that okay with you too?

    Please keep your religion confined within your tax-exempt churches and homes and out of the lives of innocent law abiding taxpaying citizens who never invited it, or did anything to harm you. Nobody is forcing YOU to be gay, so stop forcing EVERYONE ELSE to be religious against their free will. Just because you believe in magic, that doesn’t mean that everyone else must do so as well.

    How incredibly selfish to demand religion to be allowed to be practiced everywhere all the time, but deny gays a right that has no effect on you. This is nothing but total arrogant selfishness. Gays marrying won’t keep you out of heaven, now will it?

    Tony Perkins of the FRC says homosexuality doesn’t deserve “special protections,” like religion claims to, because in his words: “Protection against private discrimination has historically been offered only for characteristics that are inborn, involuntary, immutable, innocuous, and/or in the Constitution-yet none of these describe homosexual behavior.”
    So why then is religion protected by the constitution in the first place? According to him, religion is constitutionally protected because it is “good for society.” Wrong Mr. Perkins. The only reason religion is protected by the constitution is NOT because religion is good for society, (religion has historically been one of the worst things society has had to deal with.) it’s because people of religion were once (and still are) persecuted for their religious beliefs or lack thereof and for no other reason. And for those exact same reasons that religion is protected, homosexuality should be protected as well…IN THE CONSTITUTION. What gives religion a special pass? You cannot even prove your God exists, yet you demand special privileges for your bigoted behavior based on nothing but a “belief.” Ridiculous. The FRC, as well as religion as a whole obviously have ulterior motives.

    Gays and gay marriage do not produce a “concrete injury” to anyone. But does religion and religious teachings injure gays? Just ask any of the parents of the many gay children who committed suicide. Is this what you want? And you claim to know what’s “best for children.” And you always blame the children for the depression they suffer that is actually due to the depression you cause, allow and encourage. Shameful.

    If religion wants a say in controlling public policy, then ALL religions should pay taxes first, just like everyone else. Religion deserves NO ‘special’ rights or protection, as religion is a CHOICE.

    Please look up the word ethnocentric. Then tell me that homophobia and racism aren’t of the same concept.

    Imagine what good might have been accomplished if the millions of dollars wasted on “protecting marriage,” and “religious freedom” was spent on cancer research…cancer that God created with the rest of his “natural” wonders. I won’t bother go into the loss of future scientists and astrophysicists that could find cures or prevent asteroid collisions lest they weren’t drafted into religion’s philosophy of junk science. Such a waste.

    All the arguments against gay rights are justified on only upon the “need” to expand the population for profit desires. More people = more business. This is nothing but typical republicanism dependent on religious control. And as gay rights progress, and religion regresses, gay opponents become increasingly desperate and pathetic as they are backed deeper into the corner of a corrupt system of selfish control. Put the churches resources towards REAL problems in the world that actually “harms” children, like malnutrition, cancer, cerebral palsy, malaria, etc… maladies that occur “naturally” that your so-called God created. 3 million children die every year. What are you doing about that? How about stop wasting money on ridiculous nonsense.

    I have a prediction for all anti-gay people out there: Gay marriage WILL be legal nationwide, and hate speech WILL become a hate crime, and ALL churches/religion based organizations will be taxed. So get over yourself. You are not any more special than anyone else, you have abused your tax-free status, and you are accomplishing NOTHING good in your “research.”

  3. Cass4 years ago

    So now any gay in any state can legally get married now??????

  4. Scott4 years ago

    To follow on John’s comment, and as some of his quotes suggest, the marriage battle, as important as it is, is distracting us from the next and perhaps even more important one: the battle for family. It is pretty clear that the entire concept of “family” runs counter to the rampant, hedonistic, wanton individualism that now characterizes American and even western civilization at large. There is no place for the constraints of a lifelong commitment of individuals to the self-sacrifices of rearing the next generation, much less a virtuous and ethical next generation.

    We must start now to defend the institution of family even as we fight to the death for marriage.

  5. 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.