NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Americans are becoming increasingly more liberal on the issues of homosexuality and “gay marriage,” according to a new Gallup Poll.
The survey of 1,003 adults, conducted May 10-13 and released May 29, showed on a number of questions that Americans’ tolerance of homosexuality is at an all-time high. For instance:
-– 57 percent of U.S. adults say homosexuality “should be considered an acceptable alternative lifestyle.” The previous high was 54 percent, a mark reached three times, including last year. In the current poll, 39 percent say such relations should not be accepted.
–- 47 percent say they personally believe homosexual relations are morally acceptable. The previous high was 44 percent. While 49 percent say such relations are unacceptable, it is the first time that particular number has dropped below 50 percent.
–- 59 percent say homosexual relations should be legal -– just one percentage point below the all-time high of 60 percent in May 2003. Thirty-seven percent say they should not be legal.
–- 42 percent say homosexuality is “something a person is born with,” matching the all-time high from last year. Thirty-five percent, an all-time low, say it is a combination of upbringing and environment.
A majority of adults remain opposed to “gay marriage” legalization, although that percentage also is falling. In the latest poll, 53 percent of American adults oppose “gay marriage,” while 46 percent support it. Although both numbers are records, they come with caveats. Unlike other Gallup polls in most years, this year’s “gay marriage” question was preceded by a number of questions concerning homosexuality that could make the person polled sympathetic to the marriage issue.
“When the same question is asked in other Gallup surveys that do not include such questions, a lower level of support for gay marriage is usually found,” Gallup’s Lydia Saad wrote in an online analysis.
For instance, in 2005, when the question was not preceded by other questions about homosexuality, opposition to “gay marriage” stood at 56-39 percent. In 2004, it was 61-33 percent.
Additionally, the wording in the question changed. For apparently the first time, Gallup’s “gay marriage” question used the phrase “same-sex couples” to describe homosexuals. In past years the question simple referred to “homosexuals.” For years, homosexual activists have complained that Gallup’s poll was biased because it used the term “homosexual.” The other questions this year, though, still used that term.
The poll’s “gay marriage” results buck the state-by-state trend. Last November seven states passed constitutional amendments prohibiting “gay marriage” with an average of 63.6 percent of the vote. Including those seven, a majority of states, 27, have similar amendments.
MICH. COURT TO HEAR CASE — The Michigan Supreme Court announced May 24 it would take up a case that will determine whether the state’s constitutional marriage amendment prohibits marriage-like domestic partner benefits for the partners of homosexual public employees, the Detroit Free Press reported. In February a lower court ruled that the amendment did just that.
The amendment, passed in 2004 by a margin of 59-41 percent, prevents the recognition of “gay marriage” or any other “similar union.” The Alliance Defense Fund, a pro-family legal group, filed friend-of-the-court briefs with the lower court arguing that the amendment bans such benefits.
The American Civil Liberties Union appealed the lower court ruling to the state Supreme Court.
ORE. CONSERVATIVES GATHER SIGNATURES — A group of Oregon social conservatives has begun gathering signatures in an attempt to overturn two new laws: one that legalized same-sex domestic partnerships and the other that prohibits discrimination based on “sexual orientation” in housing, public accommodations and the workplace. Opponents say both new laws infringe on religious freedoms.
If conservatives are successful, the Associated Press reported, then voters in November 2008 will decide whether to keep or overturn the laws. The domestic partnerships law grants same-sex couples all the legal benefits of marriage.
Each petition drive must gather just over 55,000 signatures.