According to the General Social Survey (GSS), a biennial poll conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, same-sex marriage now has more supporters than opponents in the United States:
The 2010 GSS shows that, despite efforts to block same-sex marriage in states across the country, more Americans support same-sex marriage than oppose it.
Southern Illinois University sociologist Darren Sherkat posts on his blog a brief rundown of analysis he performed on raw data from 2010 that GSS recently released. Sherkat reports that for the first time in American history, same-sex marriage has more support than opposition, a massive shift from the first time GSS asked the question just 22 years ago, when more than three-quarters of Americans opposed same-sex marriage and only 12.4 percent supported it.
That astounding progress can be best illustrated in the chart below:
The change over time is just astonishing, and amazingly encouraging. While there is still a long way to go before LGBT Americans are as accepted by society as straight people, what’s clear is that there’s a marked generational shift, with younger people increasingly believing that people are ‘born gay’ and shouldn’t be discriminated against because they are attracted to people of the same sex. That’s even true in the reddest parts of America. Some of the most tolerant people I’ve met, surprisingly, are young Mississippians, Tennesseeans and Virginians, who, regardless of religion and political allegiances, simply don’t have any problem with gay people and don’t understand why other people should or do. Their parents’ generation may still be far more intolerant – hell, older New Yorkers are less tolerant than twentysomethings! However, the increasing number of LGBT role models on TV and in films, as well as a decreasing tolerance for public homophobia in the media, has meant that people of my generation no longer really give a damn what a person’s sexual orientation is, as long as that person is a decent human being. That doesn’t mean that we’ll have country-wide gay marriage any time in the near future, or even in the next ten or fifteen years. What it means, though, is that it’ll be increasingly different as younger generations come of political age for politicians to find convincing reasons to deny gay couples the right to marry and enjoy all of the rights of their straight compatriots. That alone is a wonderful thing, even if the pace of change is far too slow.
I really do feel spring coming on. The weather’s been wonderful these past few days, I’ve been in a better mood, and I’m finding more and more reasons to have renewed hope in humanity. I think that what I’m really trying to say is: “Hooray!”