At two year anniversary, record-breaking support for marriage equality

This year, two years after the landmark decision on nationwide marriage equality, approval has hit a record high.

by Hayden Smith
Staff Writer

This June 26 marks the second anniversary of the landmark Obergefell v. Hodges decision legalizing marriage equality, and the nation is kicking off the summer with record highs.

Each year since 1996, Gallup has polled Americans on their values and beliefs, including marriage equality. This year, two years after the landmark decision on nationwide marriage equality, approval has hit a record high.

The new poll shows that 64 percent of all Americans are in favor of marriage equality, which is three percent more than the previous poll. The number has more than doubled since the first poll run by Gallup in 1996, when 27 percent of Americans agreeing it should be recognized by law.

Majority support for marriage equality came in May of 2011, just a month shy of New York’s legalization and after five states had already made the decision to legalize.

Support for same-sex marriage consistently grew from that year, with a lasting majority in favor among the population since late 2012.

Approval remains high for Independents and Democrats, with Independents up six percentage points to 71 percent. Democrats, while still retaining a clear majority of 74 percent, fell five percentage points.

Republicans are also on an upwards trend reaching 47 percent approval. Republican support for marriage equality has been on the rise for the past four years. The possibility of a majority for approval of same-sex marriage may soon be a reality if the trend and this year’s numbers are any metric to judge by.

Protestant Christians in the United States, including all non-Catholic Christians, finally reached majority approval of marriage equality in this year’s polling. While many Protestant churches have officiated same-sex weddings since the ruling, this is the first year for overall Protestant support to become the majority.

Catholics, meanwhile, have had greater approval ratings for legalization of marriage equality since the polling began, with its lowest rating at 43 percent in 2004, compared to Protestants’ approval rating of 2004 matching the 1996 national average of 27 percent.

Catholics have held a consistent majority support for same-sex marriage since 2011, despite it being at odds with the Roman Catholic Church’s official position in opposition to same-sex marriage.

Historically, Americans have been far more likely to accept the legalization of same-sex relationships than same-sex marriage. Gallup’s first poll of legalizing same-sex relationships was held in 1977 with 43 percent of those polled approving.

The first majority was recorded in 2001, two years before the United States Supreme Court struck down all state laws banning same-sex sexual relations. This year’s poll shows Americans at another record high with 72 percent, implying that people are generally more accepting of gay peoplethan gay marriage.

It is a bit heartbreaking to look at the flip side of these new results. While 64 percent of all Americans approve and support marriage equality, about a third of Americans believe these unions should be legally invalid.

Despite this, we must also acknowledge the staggering amount of record highs in approval ratings across the board. From the ushering in of a new majority support – Protestants – and Republicans’ numbers not too far behind, progress can be seen just on the horizon.

Copyright 2017 The Gayly – June 26, 2017 @ 7:15  a.m.