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.