Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Attitudes toward Gay Marriage

Support for gay marriage hovers just below the 50 percent mark, according to the 2012 General Social Survey. Forty-nine percent of Americans aged 18 or older now agree that gays and lesbians should have the right to marry. Taken every two years since the early 1970s, the General Social Survey first asked about gay marriage in 1988. The gay marriage question has appeared regularly in the survey since 2004. Support for gay marriage more than doubled between 1988 and 2004 and has grown substantially since then...

Gays and lesbians should have the right to marry (percent agreeing)
2012: 49%
2010: 46%
2008: 39%
2006: 35%
2004: 31%
1988: 12%

One factor behind the rising support for gay marriage is generational replacement. In 2012, fully 62 percent of the millennial generation (aged 18 to 35) supported gay marriage. This compares with 51 percent of generation Xers (aged 36 to 47), 43 percent of boomers (aged 48 to 66), and 30 percent of older Americans (aged 67 or older).

Changing attitudes also play an important role in the growing support for gay marriage. Among baby boomers (born 1946 through 1964), only 14 percent supported gay marriage in 1988. A larger 25 percent supported gay marriage in 2004, with the figure rising to 43 percent in 2012.

Source: Survey Documentation and Analysis, University of California-Berkeley, General Social Surveys 1972-2012 Cumulative Datafile

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