There are two new polls out which suggest that even as voters across the country reject state recognition of same-sex marriages, they are increasingly open to civil unions. Given the care Gallup takes to survey a representative sample of the American population, we should have every confidence that theirs presents a pretty accurate portrait of American public opinion.
Their latest shows, as per their headline, U.S. Acceptance of Gay/Lesbian Relations Is the New Normal. Indeed. Take a gander at this chart and look when the shift occurred:
During the Bush years, the 13-point advantage of those finding gay relations morally wrong was erased.
And this belief that gay/lesbian relations are morally acceptable accelerated in recent years. Another chart shows that more Americans find gay/lesbian relationships morally acceptable than believes same-sex marriages should be valid. Guess that means that all opponents of state recognized gay marriages are not haters — as goes the narrative.
By a 2-to-1 margin (63-31), Americans think gay and lesbian relationships between consenting adults should be legal. A CBS survey yields a similar result, showing that “62 percent – close to two thirds – of Americans believe that same-sex unions should be recognized by law.”
With research from NYU political scientist Patrick Egan showing that “the share of voters in pre-election surveys saying that they will vote to ban same-sex marriage is typically seven percentage points lower than the actual vote on election day”, perhaps the better strategy toward improving the lot of gay people in relationships would be, in the present, to push for civil unions.
These numbers show just how greatly things are improving for gay people in America. Attitudes are shifting. Not all Americans may want to call our unions marriages, but increasingly, they respect their integrity and moral worth. A good sign indeed.