According to the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, a majority of Americans (58%) believe homosexuality should be accepted, and not discouraged, by society. This finding becomes magnified the younger the survey population, with 63% of those under 50 years of age and 69% of individuals under 30 years of age saying that society should accept homosexuality. Among those older than 50 years of age, a smaller majority (52%) agrees that it should be accepted.
And although a majority of Americans do not favor gay marriage today, the survey shows increased support for the cause, with the 45% today who favor gays and lesbians being legally allowed to marry a large increase from the 35% who took that stance in April 2009. 46% of those surveyed said they were against same-sex marriage, 1% more than those in favor but noticeably less than the 54% who were against same-sex marriage in April 2009. The Pew Center writes: "Opposition to gay marriage has fallen by 19 points (from 65%) since 1996."
Opposition to gay parenting has also fallen in recent years, with the 35% today who say more gay parents is a bad development for society a big decrease from the 50% who viewed the trend negatively four years ago.Although majorities across most demographic groups were found to support societal acceptance of homosexuality, views toward homosexuality were found to differ significantly based on an individual's religious and political preferences, as well as his/her race and gender. While 67% of Democrats and 63% of independents say homosexuality should be accepted, only 40% of Republicans share that opinion.
And while 79% of the religiously unaffiliated, 66% of white Catholics, and 65% of white mainline Protestants believe homosexuality should be accepted, percentages are smaller among other religious groupings. Only 29% of white evangelical Protestants believe homosexuality should be accepted, while 63% believe it should be discouraged by society.
Among races, Hispanics (64%) and whites (58%) were found to be more supportive of homosexual acceptance than African Americans (49%). With regard to gender, women (64%) are more accepting than men (52%).
Findings are from the Pew political typology survey, released earlier this May.