In news that will hopefully restore some of your faith in humanity, U.S. support for marriage equality is at an all-time high. According to a recent Gallup poll, 64 percent of Americans support the legalization of same sex marriage. Before the #HomophobiaIsOverParty commences, it’s also important to look at another side of that statistic: a little more than one third of Americans still don’t think same sex marriage should be legal.
A cool bit of political info for everyone: gay marriage is still a constitutional right, as ruled by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015, even if three out of ten Americans are grumpy about it. The percentage of people who think gay marriage should still be illegal is thankfully dwindling. That’s true among essentially every demographic Gallup has polled on marriage equality in recent years.
A strong majority of Democrats and Independents support marriage equality (74 percent and 71 percent, respectively). While still not a majority, the percent of Republicans who support same sex marriage is also at its highest at 47 percent. On the religious front, for the first time since Gallup began tracking trends on marriage equality in 1996, a majority of Protestants support gay marriage. Since 2011, a majority of Catholics have supported marriage equality despite the Roman Catholic Church’s official stance. (Yep, Cool Pope™ thinks people who are gay shouldn’t face “unjust discrimination” but still thinks marriage is reserved for a man and a woman.)
This trend of support is true among age demographics as well. According to a 2016 Gallup poll, a majority of people support gay marriage among every age demographic surveyed. Support is highest among younger adults, aged 18-30, with 83 percent agreeing that gay is v. v. v. OK. Most notably, this 2016 poll marked the first time that a majority of Americans aged 65 and older supported marriage equality. Just another reminder that being old isn’t an excuse for bigotry.
Despite public opinion, the current administration has made significant efforts that target people who are LGBTQ+. This is evidenced by actions like rolling back protections for transgender students and Trump’s recent executive order on religious liberty that could open the door for discrimination against people who are gay. Essentially, the fight for gay rights is still very much a fight. Recently, faith leaders in Texas protested a bill they believed discriminated against LGBT people in the name of “religious freedom." While yes, opposition to gay marriage is dwindling, there are still people who stand strong against gay rights. It’s worth noting again that the party that holds Congress and the White House is the only political party surveyed in which support of same-sex marriage is still the minority.
This recent poll is still worth celebrating as another reminder that, with work and time, the arc of the moral universe bends towards justice. Gallup’s first poll on marriage equality took place in 1996, where only 27 percent of Americans supported same sex marriage. There’s a good chance you can remember 1996. Despite what every nostalgic listicle would have you believe, it really wasn’t that long ago. If 21 years can shift public opinion that significantly, imagine where we time (and work) will take us in 21 more.