Current Affairs

USA becoming more tolerant towards the gay community

Rochelle Green March 23, 2006
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The USA is changing for the better by becoming more tolerant towards the gay community.

In 1996, 65 per cent of Americans opposed same-sex marriage and 27 per cent supported it according to The Pew Research Centre’s poll. The independent research organisation latest poll released yesterday conducted on 1,405 adults between 8th and 12th March found that 51 per cent opposed same-sex marriage and 39 per cent supported it. Only two years ago as gays and lesbians were marrying in San Francisco, a Pew poll found 63 per cent of Americans opposed the right of same-sex marriages and 30 per cent in favour of it.

“In 2004, (same-sex marriage) was an emotional issue that struck a very deeply rooted chord in a lot of people,” said Michael Dimock, associate director of the Pew Research Centre for People and the Press. “It is still an issue — a lot of people who opposed it then still oppose it now. But a lot of people who opposed it then were in an intense environment and either feel less strongly or feel that people can do what they want to do.”

Support for the rights to adopt was held by 46 per cent of the interviewees as against 38 per cent in 1999 while sixty per cent of the respondents believed that gays and lesbians should be able to serve openly in the armed forces.

“It indicates people are changing,” Mr Dimock said. “They’re becoming more open and tolerant, and we also have a shift in generations, which has a big impact.”

Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Lesbian and Gay Task Force in New York said “I think people have thought more about gay families in the last two years than in the previous 30,”

The survey also commented on the decrease in the number of respondents who said they “strongly oppose” same-sex marriage which has decreased from 42 per cent in 2004 to 28 per cent this year, with the largest decreases amongst senior citizens, republicans and religious moderates.

Despite support for gay issues carried out by independent polls, there has been no increase in the support from the USA’s voters on referendums on the issue of legalisation of civil partnerships where 13 states have passed constitutional bans on same-sex marriage and least seven other states will vote in November.

Unfortunately The Family Research Council, a conservative Christian lobbying group in Washington, D.C. failed to return a phone call, and a representative from the evangelical Christian organization Focus on the Family declined to comment on The Pew Research Poll.

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