Gay Marriage

Gallup: Majority Say Gay/Lesbian Relations Morally Acceptable


A recent poll out from Gallup shows 54 percent of Americans consider "gay or lesbians relations" "morally acceptable," while 42 percent say gay or lesbian relations are "morally wrong." Gallup has been asking this question since 2001. At the time, results were clearly flipped with 53 percent saying homosexual relations are morally wrong, and 40 percent saying morally acceptable. Acceptance eclipsed in 2008 and has continued to increase since this time.


Support for same-sex marriage has closely mirrored acceptance of gay and lesbian relations. For the first time, in 2011 Gallup found majority support for same-sex marriage and has since maintained marginal majority support.


Gallup also demonstrates the increasingly polarized nature-versus-nurture debate over homosexuality. When Gallup first asked the question in 1977, thirteen percent believed "being gay or lesbian [was] something a person [was] born with." In contrast 56 percent said, "being gay or lesbian [was] due to factors such as upbringing and environment." These numbers steadily coalesced until 2001 so that the electorate was evenly divided and has since stayed polarized.

Source: Gallup Organization.

NEXT: Sex Politics and the GOP as We Know It: An Interview with Nancy Cohen

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  1. This would be a perfect moment for Obama to announced an “evolution” in his position on Gay Marriage!

    1. What is Reason’s take on Rand Paul’s comments in Iowa last week regarding Obama’s “evolution” on gay marriage?

          1. Gotta love the comments.

      1. What he should have said was “The Obama gay marriage evolution meme couldn’t be more retarded.”

      2. There’s nothing wrong with being gay, which is why “gay” should be considered an insult.

        1. Oh, the willful density of Jim Treacher. If only there were nothing like it…

          1. Well, I suppose that’ll do in lieu of a rebuttal…

      3. Why should Reason have a take on that?

  2. Has a gay marriage provision ever won when put to an election? Not that that is the be-all-end-all but it’s a lot easier to tell a pollster you favor something when you aren’t backing that up with actually making it happen.

    1. In 2006 a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage and civil unions failed 52-48. However, in 2008 the amendment passed 56-44 when the civil union ban was removed.

      As best I can tell a petition to put same-sex marriage into law has never been on a state ballot.

    2. I don’t believe one has ever won in a referendum, but then rights shouldn’t be subject to the whims of the majority.

      The states of Washington and Maryland enacted SSM through legislative vote.

      1. So did NY

      2. It’s a right because otherwise it’s not fair and shut up.

        1. My comment here contributes just as much as Jim Treacher’s comment right above.

          1. Are you going to be okay?

  3. I cant, for the life of me, figure out how anyone thinks other peoole’s sex lives are any of their business, much less how they figure government should have anything to do with it.
    As far as marriaage goes, it is just a contract, and in this country anyone should be free to contract with anyone else of their choosing.

    1. Correct. My complete indifference on this issue hasn’t changed since 2001.

    2. anyone should be free to contract with anyone else of their choosing.

      … or group of people?

      Judge: Also, in a rare double whammy decision, the court finds polygamy constitutional.
      Crowd: Boo!
      Old Man Waterfall: I can’t wait to tell my husband!
      Crowd: Boo!

      1. … or group of people?

        Sure, as long as they all consent of their own free will.

        1. and are not minors

          1. Minors aren’t considered to be capable of giving consent to contracts.

    3. much less how they figure government should have anything to do with it

      Because government wants it’s greedy fingers in everyone’s pie.

    4. Definitely. The argument over nature or nurture is pointless. Whether gays were born that way, made that way by their upbringing, they chose to become gay when adult, or they told the draft board that and decided to stick with it, just doesn’t enter into the equation any more than someone’s hair color or choice of transportation.

  4. Marginally on topic: Has anyone been watching that HBO series Veep? I just watched the first three episodes and immediately fell in love.

    It takes the cynicism of modern politics and ramps it up to factor eleven.

    1. I’ve liked it so far. The vapidness is spot-on given my experience with pols.

      1. Yeah, the utter depths they go to seems at first to be farcical, but the more you watch, the more creepily accurate you believe it to be.

        Like how she wanted to go out on a photo-op to be seen with “normals”.

  5. Good for Gallup. Talk to me when a pro gay initiative wins an election. Until then I really could not care less what the polls say.

    Moreover, isn’t it a bit demeaning to rely on polls in support of gay marriage? If it is a fundamental right, who the fuck cares what the polls say? Reason doesn’t trumpet polls in support of other rights.

    1. They trumpet all sorts of polls, those relating to fundamental rights included.

    2. What are you talking about, do you not pay attention to Reason-Rupe polling?

      They ask all sorts of questions, and trumpet the results on this blog.

  6. Actually I think the reason why gay marriage bans win at the polls is because people who oppose gay marriage do it with a passion. They are energized. Those who support it are only energized if they personally know some one who is gay, or if they are gay themselves, or if they are activists.

    1. Exactly. There is a big difference between giving an answer you think a pollster wants to hear and actually going out and voting in a special election. All the more reason why these polls don’t mean anything.

    2. They are energized. Those who support it are only energized if they personally know some one who is gay, or if they are gay themselves, or if they are activists.

      Half right. People who are against gay marriage are convinced that global warming is caused by gay marriage.

      People who are gay are equally energized by it, but may not make up the numbers to get the vote out.

      Those of us who aren’t gay but support it and are libertarian just quietly support it, and some of us count many gay friends and even family members. Even having gay friends doesn’t get me that up in arms about it.

      As Pro L said, we’ve been saying “do what you want” for decades.

    3. I think another reason for this is that old people vote at higher rates than younger generations. Statistically speaking, old people are more racist, sexist, homophobic, and more likely to support “tough on crime” policy. They are also less trusting of government, and generally less in favor of socialist policies than younger folks. As these geezers die off we can expect to see a more tolerant society, but unless my generation learns something about ecenomics sometime soon, gay marrige and legal weed will be paltry consolation for being broke as fuck.

      1. True dat. Old people show up. People under 40, not so much.

  7. I’m actually surprised and saddened that a whopping 42% of people still think it’s “morally wrong”. Is that just coded language for “yucky”?

    1. “The bible says so!”

    2. I pointed out something similar some years ago in relation to any issue you come up with.

      For instance, I’ve noticed that where I live, you can put pretty much anything up the flagpole, and around 40-43% of the population will salute.

      It’s called democracy. Which is why, unlike our left-ish bretheren, we libertarians don’t see Democracy as the end, we see it as a means. The end is liberty.

      1. We don’t see it as the end either. The end is welfare.

    3. Is that just coded language for “yucky”?

      No, they actually think it is morally wrong in a “you’ll burn in hell” kind of way. At least the people who I’ve heard discuss it.

    4. There’s still a portion of society who equate being gay with being a pedophile. There’s also a group who insists homosexuality must be immoral because they really, really want to try it.

      1. A lot of those people grew up where their only real exposure to gays (that they knew of) were the BDSM parade floats and news stories about guys having sex in public restrooms and parks. Now that it’s more open and people are more familiar with it they’re less uncomfortable with it. It builds on itself that way. Really racism is very similar. I think most hard core racist exposure to blacks is from the news and most news about anything is usually negative. They also have a self feeding loop. The more exposure thay can have with everyday black people who are not in the news the less likly they are to stereotype them.

        1. Also, now that we’re more mainstream we have less recourse to vulgar public displays and furtive sexual encounters than we previously did.

    5. Is that just coded language for “yucky”?

      Partially, yes

    6. I’ve never seen any polls on the breakdown of this, but yes there are many people who believe that sodomy is both unnatural and sinful.

  8. Reason’s favourite attempted murderer & feminist, Hugo Schwyzer, is at it again.

    Amongst other highlights, Mr Schwyzer repeats stereotypes (with anecdotal citations) of how African-American men prefer heavy-set women and then makes the case that men are attracted to other women based on what other men want. (The possibility that Mr Schwyzer is himself attracted to men is blissfully ignored.)

    1. Pride parade isn’t a vulgar public display?

      Or is it just tacky?

      1. Okay, that was a response to Tonio @3:17.


      2. I was specifically thinking about gay pride parades when I wrote “vulgar displays”. Not all entries are like that, but the most memorable ones are.

  9. The nature vs. nurture question without a “both” option is as silly with regards to homosexuality as it is for intelligence.

    Almost every person has some degree of homosexual potential from their nature/genetics/hormones. Some have more than others, but I believe just about every person is bisexual by nature.

    Experiences/environments, personal relationships and social conditioning can bring out or suppress these tendencies. If society conditioned us from birth that homosexuality was normal and expected, many more of us would likely be homosexual, regardless of our hormonal and genetic tendencies. Traumatic experiences especially can impact this. Many of my lesbian friends used to live as heterosexuals until they were raped by men and became turned off by the concept of being in relationships with men.

    1. This is one thing that frequently pisses me off about leftists. They get their panties all in a bunch the moment you imply that enviromental factors play a role in sexual orientation. I’m not the slightest bit homophobic, and I don’t see how its neccesary for me to belive that they’re 0 born that way. If race were a matter of choice that still wouldn’t justify discrimination.

      1. Because if it’s a choice (environmental) then it’s OK to discriminate. If it’s learned, then it can be unlearned (pray away the gay).

        And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

      2. Religous homophobes overrate the nurture/environmental factor so as not to give any credence to the notion that “God made them that way”.

        Politically correct leftists overrate to nature factor so as not to complicate the legal discussion with the inherent complexities of sexuality compared to race and sex. But then again, religion is a protected legal status and it purely involves nurture, so really most people who say “all nature, no nurture” are probably trolling the religious Right with “God made us this way!”

        Simplistic dichotomies are easily digested I suppose. I prefer nuance.

        1. No nuance on the internets, man. It’s in the rules.

        2. Mad props to Proprietriest! Succinctly stated.

      3. But the roles are reversed re genetics vs. environment if the subject is crime. Or any of a bunch of other things, if you think about them.

        Must be path dependence, the way things shake out socio-politically like this.

    2. Sure, Prop, most people do feel same-sex attractions at some point in their lives, and many act on it. But there’s a big difference between that and having strong and consistent enough SSA to be bisexual.

      1. I’m not necessarily saying that the natural bisexuality is particularly strong or consistent for most people. Merely that it could potentially be triggered by the right environment, relationship or conditioning. I’d agree to self-classify your actual sexuality as bisexual, you’d have to feel something stronger than a momentary SSA.

      2. The old joke, Prop, is that being bisexual doubles your chances of getting a date on any given friday night.

        Straight women used to avoid bisexual men like the plague because of fear of AIDs and not wanting to be spurned for a man.

        Given observed human behavior, active bisexuality ought to be more common than it is. But when you factor in cultural norms, etc, the relatively small number of self-identified bisexuals becomes more understandable.

  10. So, let’s see. It could be something you’re born with. A congenital defect. Perhaps curable by gene-therapy, perhaps controllable by appropriate drugs. And once we have an in-vitro test, we can simply abort. Not, of course, for convenience or some selfish desire, such as wanting biological grandchildren – no, no. For quality-of-life reasons, you understand.

    Or it could be something acquired through proper exposure and guidance, application and practice. Such as the ability to understand matrix algebra, or to appreciate fine cuisine and music. Refined sensibilities are the result of both opportunity and serious study.

    1. And I’m sure that some of the more hardcore fundies would justify aborting gay fetuses as carrying out god’s will. Either that or imposing a lifetime of “therapy” on those kids.

  11. What a worthless poll. To be frank, I couldn’t give two shits what someone’s position on the morality of homosexual relations is. Or to put it another way, I have greater respect for a person who believes homosexuality morally reprehensible but believes it ought to be legally permissible than I do someone who believes homosexuality is morally appropriate but that homosexual marriages should be prohibited by law.

  12. I actually know a few gays who do not support redefining marriage.
    They believe that marriage consists of a husband and a wife. Kinda like their parents.
    Though they do tend to keep their opinion on the issue to themselves, since they get attacked for being closet straights for having it. Oh, and they’re not liberal Democrats either.
    Imagine that. Gays who aren’t liberal Democrats.
    Kinda like conservative black Republicans.
    Traitors! Kill them! Kill them! Traitors one and all!

    1. Though they do tend to keep their opinion on the issue to themselves, since they get attacked for being closet straights for having it. Oh, and they’re not liberal Democrats either.

      It’s not their fault they were raised in a heteronormative, religio-fascist environment. We’ll let them go to a new-thinking seminar, and I’m sure they’ll be upstanding citizens in no time.

      1. “Hetero-normative?” I feel like I’m in a <insert word here>-studies class at a Cal State school.

          1. So being in a course that educates people not born with white- or male-privilege on the subtle discriminations they face everyday is so laughable that being made to feel as though you are attending one is a micro-aggression?

            When people ask how the Patriarchy remains so strong, I remember comments like this and I don’t wonder for the reasons.

            1. Ha! I’m far more sensitive to Gaia and all her sistren than you. I clearly meant that AA’s lack of understand was an aggression against homo/gyno/minoro/ Americans.

              I take umbrage at your insinuation that I am part of the Patriarchy, and await your belated finger wiggling approval for both of my previous comments.

            2. It’s laughable because you don’t need to take a college course on how you may be discriminated against by “The Man/The Patriarchy”, all you have to do is watch an hour of Rachel Maddow. Or read a Jezebel article.

      2. Alack, their problem seems to be fear of backlash, so I would say that we’re dealing more with a homo-normative, fascist environment.

        1. Does that count as a Godwin?

    2. And the existence of these people proves…what, exactly?

      And I’d be careful about that “redefining” shit, Sarc, because polygamy was the norm for much of human history and is biblically ordained.

      1. And the existence of these people proves…what, exactly?

        That they should be murdered since they do not support the narrative.

        And I’d be careful about that “redefining” shit

        Why? That’s exactly what it is.
        It is redefining marriage from “husband and wife” to “Pat and Pat”.

        1. Did you even read what I wrote about polygamy?

          1. Did you know that the current legal definition of marriage does not include polygamy?

            1. Which means it has already been redefined at least once.

            2. Did you understand that “polygamy” means “multiple marriages”? It does not refer to a different form of marriage, only to having more than one of them at a time.

    3. If they’re afraid of other gays, does that make them homophobes?

  13. What is Reason’s take on Rand Paul’s comments in Iowa last week regarding Obama’s “evolution” on gay marriage?

    1. I’m not Reason magazine, but I have no idea what to make of this comment. It strikes me as neither pro-gay nor anti-gay.


      The president recently weighed in on marriage and you know he said his views were evolving on marriage. Call me cynical, but I wasn’t sure his views on marriage could get any gayer


      1. “I wasn’t sure his views on marriage could get any gayer

        This is a really really bad joke.

        1. How so?

  14. An an aside, aren’t there several polls where 10% or more of people say they’re libertarian. But then libertarians get only 0.1% of the vote. Maybe here people are voting for the person who is most libertarian-leaning and likely to win (which is usually a Republican).

    Or maybe the energized theory holds here too — namely that libertarians are not energized to actually go out and vote because they know they can’t win.

    1. Maybe people with disdain towards authority shrug their shoulders at the opportunity to choose who will command them.

    2. Or maybe self-identified libertarians are more likely to be principled non-voters?

    3. Lots of people say they are libertarian.

      But they still want their welfare checks, and they still want to see a jackboot on the necks of people who they disapprove of.

      1. > Lots of people say they are
        > libertarian.

        Ha, I was watching Hannity on Friday. They were talking about the scandalous breast-feeding cover of Time magazine. Hannity referred to himself as libertarian. He did think it’s a personal issue whether you want to breastfeed your kids till age 4. But I would not call him libertarian in general.

        Bill Maher also referred to himself as a libertarian once.

        I’m not sure if Greg Gutfeld is one either.

      2. But Ayn Rand needed her medicare! How could she have predicted that smoking caused cancer?

        1. Ayn wasn’t a libertarian and in fact hated libertarians. Idiot.

          1. No, she hated anarchists, which libertarians keep telling me they aren’t.

            1. No, she hated libertarians, and wrote an essay on what a bunch of immoral shitbuckets we are.

              1. Derider’s a cunt, mgd. No use trying to argue logic with him.

        2. And the surgeon general’s official determination that smoking causes cancer didn’t come out until the fifties. Not that the SG is anything special (sorry, PH weenies), but that announcement didn’t happen until the consensus in the medical community was overwhelming.

  15. Morality is defined by who ever is holding the gun.

  16. Frankly, I’m jealous that gays don’t get the right to marry. This way they avoid the marriage penalty.

    This is additional tax you pay when you get married — ie. two single people making 75k each pay less combined tax than a couple making 150k. It seems to only affect people making over 75k, and when both spouses work. This is because the higher tax brackets like 28% start at $83,600 for single people, but at $139,350 for couples. So if two people made $83,599 each then they would each be in the 25% tax bracket, but after getting married they would be in the 28% tax bracket as the combined income is $167,198. Also, AMT exemption is less, AMT exemption phaseout is faster, itemized deduction phaseout is faster, etc, etc.

    1. More couples realize tax benefits from filing jointly than face a tax penalty.…..eston.aspx

      1. There really shouldn’t be a penelty or benefit. Your relationship shouldn’t be the governments business at all.

        1. No, but I guarantee you that the same people who get all Butt-Hurt about “redefining” marriage [scowls at Sarcasmic] are going to howl like banshees if the marriage deduction is taken away.

          1. (to the tune of “She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain”)
            There’s a skeeter on my peter, get it off! Get it off!
            There’s another on my brother, get it off! Get it off!
            There’s a dozen on my cousin
            Can’t you hear those bastards buzzin’
            There’s a skeeter on my peter, get it off!

          2. It IS redefining marriage. Just as we redefined it from plural marriages sometime in our past. Just as we, as American’s, redefined it as being more about love than whatever a father could get for his daughter.

            1. Given that context, yes it is redefinition. More aptly re-re-definition. But most people who use the phrase “redefine marriage” [looks at Sarc] are willfully ignorant that polygamy has been the norm for most of human existence and is biblicly mandated.

              1. Some people are willfully ignorant that polygamy was between members of the opposite sex, and that redefining marriage to be members of the same sex is a radical change over most of human existence (since, coincidentally enough, human existence depends on unions between members of the opposite sex *facepalm*).

                1. sarcasmic|5.14.12 @ 2:06PM|#
                  I actually know a few gays who do not support redefining marriage.
                  They believe that marriage consists of a husband and a wife. Kinda like their parents. [emphasis mine]

                  sarcasmic|5.14.12 @ 4:03PM|#
                  Did you know that the current legal definition of marriage does not include polygamy?

                  OK, so we have Sarc moving from implying that marriage consists of one man and one woman, to grudgingly almost-acknowledging that polygamy has been prevalant through human history but not liking it.

                  You’re moving the goalposts, dude.

                  And yes I know that polygamy (more accurately polygyny) is an inherently hetero thing.

          3. Actually doing away completely with state anctioned marraige is the perfect solution. You wany to get married. Go to a church and do so. No marraige certificate, no state recognition or non-recognition, no-impact on your dealing with the state whatsoever. It pisses off the most fervant on both both sides of the issue witch is just really a bonus to an already good solution to the problem. The anti-gay marraige folks won’t like it because they’ll say it takes the incentives away from staying married (as if you should stay married due to coersion). The pro gay marraige folks will hate it because they care lees about the marriage part (which they can do now) and more about the state sanctioned part, because they wouldn’t be able to use it as civil rights victim club/honor badge.

            1. Somehow your omniscient power to look into the souls of others and determine that they don’t want what they say they want, but just want to be victims, has missed me. I’m not interested in being a victim.

              Srsly, I remember the last days of Jim Crow; the white people said that black people didn’t really want to swim in the public pools, they just wanted to wreck things for everyone else. You are, perhaps unknowingly, parroting that line of reasoning. And this isn’t to say you’re racist, just that people pull out the same specious bullshit here as they did the last time.

              And how convenient that you want to ditch state-sanctioned marriage now that you might have to make the institution more inclusive.

              1. I’m fine with gay marraiage. I honestly don’t care. If states started issuing licenses tomorrow and every gay person in America got married tomorrow it would not matter to me at all. Good for them. That doesn’t change the fact that my relationship is none of the states business. Also, I did not say every gay person wants to be a victim, I’m quite sure that most do not. I mentioned about the most fevant on both sides. If you don’t see victim politics being played in the gay marraige, I don’t know what to tell you. I see a lot of sanctimony and bs on both sides of this issue.

                1. The goal of gay marriage proponents is economic. Its not morality based or based upon some feel good public acceptance excuse. They want into the bene trough that was designed to help raise the next generation, only. Let’s not face up to that. It ruins the narrative.

            2. What do you do about things like immigration? Will people be able to bring their spouses with them from abroad? Will American citizens’ spouses still have to worry about their visa expiring? Not having state recognized pairings is a lot more complicated than you would think.

              1. They really haven’t thought this through, unfortunately-handled comentator. It’s really a knee-jerk reaction. Doing away with state-sanctioned marriages sounds all libertarian, and is a good way for socons to frame the issue. But the reality is that you don’t see any significant efforts by libertarians or socons to eliminate state-sanctioned marriage, they just use this as a talking point to justify not extending the definition of marriage or personhood to those damn filthy homos.

              2. If you had open borders it would not be an issue.

            3. Marriage is not a religious ritual. There are millions of married atheists in this country and hundreds of millions around the world. It didn’t even occur to them to go to a church. Or you think that opposite-sex atheist couples cannot marry?

              1. Yes, I’m a married atheist who is against atheist marriage. Sheesh, I’m sorry that I can’t cover ever single aspect of an issue in a paragraph or on a bumper sticker. You know there is a 1500 charactor limit here:) How do grizzies do it? Do they mate for life? I know some animals do. What about primitive cultures, they may not have called it marraige buts thats what they were doing. How did they manage without paying a tax and getting a piece of paper from the state. Is it that hard to fathom?

      2. The percentages aren’t that overwhelming, though. From the article, it that about half of couples filing jointly get penalized.

        The concept of filing jointly is a complete anachronism that should be phased out.

        1. Not really. If you are sharing bank accounts and/or live in a community property state, your expenditures can’t really be seperated. It makes no sense from an accounting perspective to try to do so.

      3. I don’t agree with the MSN article on the myth of the marriage penalty. For starters, if both single people make over 75k, the marriage penalty is sure to hit. A quick look at the tax tables shows this. For example, the 35% tax bracket starts at $379,150 for both single and married filers.

        When only one spouse is working, yes, you do reduce your taxes by MFJ. Suppose you make 150k before and after spouse and your spouse does not work. Then you save money by MFJ. However, if the tax threshold for the 28% tax bracket started at double for MFJ filers as compared to single filers, the savings would be even more. So in order words, even rich single-earner families have a marriage penalty in that the tax savings are not as great as they could have been.

  17. It’s meaningless without an option for “Don’t Care.”

    1. Directing your attention to the most recent figure on the topmost graph. 54 + 42 = 96, which leaves 4% don’t know or didn’t respond.

      1. And? How many of those people would’ve chosen a third option? We don’t know, because it wasn’t given.

        1. If you ever figure out how to click the links to sources you might notice that respondents did have a third option. The third option was “No opinion.”

          1. Okay. Why so hostile about it?

            1. Hostile? How so?

  18. Thats a pretty cool looking graph there dude, I like it.

  19. If the majority were going to go jump off a bridge…

  20. I wonder what happened between 1977 2000 that so dramatically got so many more people to believe in a genetic basis for this. There was no breakthru in research on the subject, was there? Was there spillover from research showing other human preferences to be genetically determined? If so, what? I don’t remember much coming out on that except as related to alcoholism.

    Could it just be increased respect for the power of genetics overall, because there’ve been such great advances in genetics?

  21. The majority voted for Bush, then Obama and all the skunks in the house and senate. The majority once thought the earth was flat and the universe revolved around us. The majority doesn’t KNOW diddly, are fickle and unreliable.

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