A new survey by the Pew Research Center (PRC) shows that the number of people who accept same-sex "marriage" remains a minority within the United States.
Entitled "Trends in Political Values and Core Attitudes: 1987-2007," the study conducted telephone interviews with 2,007 adults, aged 18 years or older, across the nation from December 12, 2006 through January 9, 2007. The report investigated a variety of questions relating to religion, government, civil liberties, and political-ethical issues such as abortion and same-sex "marriage."
Regarding the question of homosexual "marriage", the study found that 55% of Americans oppose same-sex "marriage" whereas only 37% are in favor of it.
The report notes that these numbers have fluxed somewhat in the past few years but returned to almost exactly the same as in 2001. Support for homosexual "marriage" reached a high of 38% in July 2003, but after falling to 29% in August 2004, it rose to the present 37%.
According to the survey, three main groups support homosexual "marriage." 72% of Liberal Democrats and 60% of "secular individuals" support gay "marriage." 56% of young people between the ages of 18 and 29 are supportive.
Democrats as a whole are divided with 49% in support and 43% opposed.
Among Republicans, on the other hand, 75% are opposed, 51% strongly opposed and only 20% in support.
At the same time, however, the study states that public acceptance of those who are openly homosexual has significant increased in the past twenty years. For example, only 28% agree that a school board should be able to fire openly homosexual teachers whereas 66% disagree. In contrast, 51% percent agreed to the School Board's right in 1987.
The definition of marriage has varied from country to country, but whether or not two men or two women can be "married" has become a major worldwide issue. A July 11 article by Hope Lozano-Bielat and David Masci of the Pew Research Center notes that in the European Union, 49% of people oppose same-sex 'marriage' while 44% support it. Nevertheless, many countries have widely varying views. In Holland, for example, the first country to legalize same-sex "marriage", 82% of adults are in favor of it. Only 17% support it in Poland, a country where same-sex "marriage" remains illegal.
Legal rights for homosexual couples were first made available in the Scandinavian countries Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Iceland during the late eighties and early nineties. The Netherlands was the first country to legalize homosexual "marriage" as such in 2000. Since then, gay "marriage" has been legalized in Belgium in 2003, Spain in 2005, Canada in 2005 and South Africa in 2006.
In the United States Massachusetts is the only State that performs same-sex "marriage" although Connecticut, New Jersey and Vermont (and New Hampshire next year) recognize civil unions.
Read the Pew Research Center report.