Newsweek poll: support for gay rights is up
Newsweek has just come out with a new poll showing that support for gay rights is up significantly over the past few years, the success of California’s Proposition 8 and other anti-same-sex marriage amendments this past November notwithstanding.
Americans continue to find civil unions for gays and lesbians more palatable than full-fledged marriage. Fifty-five percent of respondents favored legally sanctioned unions or partnerships, while only 39 percent supported marriage rights. Both figures are notably higher than in 2004, when 40 percent backed the former and 33 percent approved of the latter. When it comes to according legal rights in specific areas to gays, the public is even more supportive. Seventy-four percent back inheritance rights for gay domestic partners (compared to 60 percent in 2004), 73 percent approve of extending health insurance and other employee benefits to them (compared to 60 percent in 2004), 67 percent favor granting them Social Security benefits (compared to 55 percent in 2004) and 86 percent support hospital visitation rights (a question that wasn’t asked four years ago). In other areas, too, respondents appeared increasingly tolerant. Fifty-three percent favor gay adoption rights (8 points more than in 2004), and 66 percent believe gays should be able to serve openly in the military (6 points more than in 2004).
(See my prior post on gays in the military.)
The article indicates that most people now oppose a federal marriage amendment, 52-43. Just four years ago people narrowly supported one, 47-45. And 49% say they’d oppose a state constitutional amendment outlawing gay marriage, with just 45% in favor. (Though this seems odd to me since such measures have passed with over 60% in favor just about everywhere they’ve been proposed, including Florida just a month ago. Respondents may be telling pollsters what they think will make them look open minded and tolerant.)
The article, linked to above, also touches on religious views vis-a-vis same-sex marriage and the generational divide. Data is also provided on the percentage of people who have a gay relative, coworker, or friend.