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Current Affairs

Tipping point for gay marriage in America?

Katherine Knowles March 23, 2006

When the Pew Research Centre conducted their annual poll examining people’s attitudes towards the gay community, they had a pleasant surprise. In every category support for gay people had increased.

On the thorny subject of gay marriage, 51% of the people questioned opposed it. This is a small but significant drop in objectors since 2004, when the poll reported that 63% of Americans were against it, many of whom “strongly objected”.

Michael Dimock, associate director of the Pew Research Centre said that gay marriage was still a very contentious issue .”A lot of people who opposed it then still oppose it now,” he said. Gradually, however, attitudes are becoming more liberal. In a poll in 1999 65% of people questioned were against gay marriage.

Adoption for gay couples is also hovering around the tipping point. The poll found that America was divided over the question, with 46% of nearly 2000 survey-takers in favour, while 48% opposed.

On the question of gay people serving in the military the survey takers were broadly in favour, with over 60% supporting the idea.

Dimock said: “it indicates that people are changing. They’re becoming more open and tolerant”.

More tolerant by very small increments, perhaps, but a shift towards greater tolerance nonetheless.

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