A new survey has revealed that more Americans than ever now accept gay marriage as the norm – but believe divorce is wrong.
The report, by the Center for Health Statistics, interviewed thousands of men and women aged between 15 and 44. Between 2002 and 2013, participants were asked the same questions about a number of social issues including: marriage, having children and sexual behaviour.
Although on the whole the figures showed people were becoming more tolerant of issues such as gay adoption and having children outside of marriage, on other issues opinions regressed.
In 2002, the number of women who agreed with the statement, “divorce is usually the best solution when a couple can’t seem to work out their marriage problems”, was 46.7%. In 2013 this had dropped to 38%.
Among male respondents, 44.3% agreed in 2002 – dropping to 39.3% in 2013. Surprisingly, younger men were more ‘anti-divorce’ than older males, with 43.6% of 35-44 in favour of the statement compared to 36.2% of 25-34-year-olds.
On social issues regarding LGBT people, the number of women who believed in same-sex marriage had risen by 10 points since 2002.
A majority of both men and women now also believe that it’s right for gay adults to be allowed to adopt children. In 2013, 74.3% of women and 67.5% of men “strongly agreed” this should be the case.
Some have taken the figures to mean that society now finds it more accepting for a same-sex couple to get married than to get divorced.
Following the release of the report, a family and marriage researcher told NBC News that people’s expectation of what marriage is could be to blame for the shift.
“Marriage is becoming so selective that maybe people think if you achieve this status, you don’t want to end it,” he said.
Earlier this month another survey revealed that less than half of America’s youth identify as straight and that sexual and gender identities are more diverse than ever before.