Senior Citizens Not In Step with Majority of
Americans Wanting Homosexuality Accepted
Pew Research finds seniors also don't like the idea
of gays and lesbians raising children
Should homosexuality be accepted
by Society (%)
May 16, 2011 - A majority of Americans (58%) say
homosexuality should be accepted by society and only about a third (35%)
think gays and lesbians raising children is a bad thing for society.
Senior citizens, however, skew the results as the only adult age group
with less than a majority for accepting homosexuality and a massive 62%
don’t think it is good for homosexuals to raise children, reports the
Pew Recent Center.
A pattern in this survey looks much like is seen in
other polling on social issues – the younger people, best educated and
Democrats favor emerging changes in society, while senior citizens, the
least educated and Republicans drag their feet.
It is interesting to note, however, that on the
issue of gays and lesbians raising children, Republicans and senior
citizens made gigantic shifts from their negative views expressed in
“Among younger people in particular, there is broad
support for societal acceptance of homosexuality,” according to the Pew
analysis. “More than six-in-ten (63%) of those younger than age 50 --
69% of those younger than age 30 -- say that homosexuality should be
accepted. Far fewer of those ages 50 and older (52%) favor societal
acceptance of homosexuality.”
The survey, conducted in February and March of this
year, and released this month shows that opposition to gay marriage has
continued to decline.
“Currently, 45% favor allowing gays and lesbians to
marry legally while 46% are opposed. Two years ago, in April 2009, 35%
supported same-sex marriage while 54% were opposed,” the report says.
Should homosexuality be accepted by Society (%)
HS or less
Impact of More Gay, Lesbian Couples Raising Children
Percent saying bad thing for society
HS or less
“Opposition to gay marriage has fallen by 19 points
(from 65%) since 1996. (For more on changing public views of same-sex
marriage, see Pew Research Center reports from
March 3, 2011 and
Oct. 6, 2010.)
“The political typology survey also found a decline
in negative views of the increasing number of gays and lesbians raising
children. Today, 35% say that more gay parents is bad for society, 14%
view this trend positively, while 48% say it does not make much
difference. Four years ago, 50% viewed this trend negatively, 11% said
it was a good thing and 34% said it made no difference.”
Gay Issues Still Politically Divisive
Pew found that majorities across most demographic
groups say that homosexuality should be accepted by society. But there
are wide political and religious differences in opinions on this
measure. Two-thirds of Democrats (67%) and 63% of independents say that
homosexuality should be accepted, compared with 40% of Republicans.
“Among religious groups, substantial majorities of
the religiously unaffiliated (79%), white Catholics (66%) and white
mainline Protestants (65%) say that homosexuality should be accepted.
However, just 29% of white evangelical Protestants agree, while more
than twice as many (63%) say homosexuality should be discouraged by
society,” Pew says.
“There also are gender and racial differences: More
women than men favor societal acceptance of homosexuality (64% vs. 52%).
Hispanics (64%) and whites (58%) are more supportive of this than are
African Americans (49%).
Gay Parenting Viewed Less Negatively
“Since 2007, the percentage saying that the
increasing number of gay couples raising children is a bad thing has
fallen from 50% to 35%. The proportion viewing this trend positively has
changed very little (11% then, 14% today). Rather, there has been a
substantial increase in the percentage saying it does not make much
difference (34% in 2007, 48% today).”
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