Political News for Senior Citizens

Political News for Seniors

Senior citizens led swing to support same-sex marriage but still most against

Pew Research has followed issue for years and has insights into change

Two senior men reading newspaperJune 29, 2015 - You will probably be surprised to learn that senior citizens – called the Silents by researchers at Pew Research Center – led the nation in the wide-spread swing over the last 10 years to acceptance of same-sex marriage, which was approved by the U.S. Supreme Court last week.

 

The percentage of seniors in favor of allowing gays and lesbians to marry increased by 70% from 2005 to 2015, although, it still represents a minority of the elderly and keeps them in last place among other adult age groups in accepting this societal change.

The decision last week may not have been as far reaching as you previously assumed, too. There were only 14 states that still prohibited these unions.

Pew researchers have tracked the issue for years and in a comparison of the change in attitudes by adult age groups they found that the Silents – those born in 1928 through 1945 – were very negative on the idea 10 years ago. Only 23% supported it. The percentage in favor of the change this year has grown to 39.

Still, though, seniors are the least likely adults to support this change, while the youngest adults – the Millennials strongly favor the change. Almost half of those born after 1980 (49%) favored it in 2005 and in 2015 it is a whopping 73%.

Interestingly, the Boomers (born in 1946 through 1964), made the least change over the 10 years. Their approval of the idea went from 36% in 2005 to just 44% this year. They joined the Silent seniors as the only other age group without majority support for same-sex marriage.

The other group – GenXers born in the years 1965 through 1980 – favor the idea by 59%, which was a solid increase from 44% support in 2005.

The court found that limiting marriage only to heterosexual couples violates the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection under the law.

Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy stated that “no union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family.” Kennedy goes on to say that gay and lesbian couples “ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”

The Pew Research report discusses five key facts about the decision and includes more detail on public opinion today and over the last few years.

>> 5 facts about same-sex marriage (Pew)


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