For a number of years, there has been a contentious public debate in the United States on homosexuality and, more recently, same-sex marriage. Like any other social issue, Americans hold diverse opinions on these two issues. However, a not-so-subtle part of the recent public discourse has been treating these different topics—homosexuality and same sex-marriage—in tandem, rather than separately. This line of reasoning suggests that opposition to gay marriage is synonymous with being anti-gay. But do the data support such a notion?
Public Opinion on Same-Sex Marriage - Public Discourse
The latest update, from Gallup's annual Values and Beliefs poll conducted May , comes nearly two years after the Supreme Court ruled that states could not prohibit same-sex marriage. Since then, debates about same-sex marriage have faded somewhat from public discourse as LGBT rights advocates have focused on other issues, such as transgender bathroom access. But despite the ruling from the nation's highest court, legal and legislative attempts to protect or challenge same-sex marriage rights continue to bubble up in some states. Majority support for gay marriage would not come until May , about a month before New York became the sixth state to legalize it. Since then, support for legal same-sex marriage has steadily climbed, with consistent majorities in favor of it since late Over the past two decades, Democrats have almost always been the political group most likely to say gay marriages should be legally recognized. Among Americans who identify as Democrats, support first reached the majority level in , as the issue was heavily politicized in that year's presidential election.
Gay marriage is now legal in 37 states. Eighteen states have legalized it in the past six months alone. Meanwhile, public support continues to increase, with 61 percent of Americans saying they support gay marriage in a recent poll and just 35 percent opposed. As gay marriage spreads across the country, in other words, Americans are becoming more accepting of it—and that could be a key factor as the Supreme Court takes up the issue in oral arguments on Tuesday.
Gay marriage is legal in all 50 United States, something that has been fought for since the conception of the LGBT movement. In fact, gay couples are routinely being featured on popular television and other forms of media. Some might say that in , the dreams of the rioters in Stonewall have been realized. Marriage rights and the spotlight on nighttime television; equality seems to truly be right on the horizon.