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The generational differences also cut across partisan and religious lines. Young people are also much more supportive of gay and lesbian people being allowed to serve as religious leaders. There is also broader acceptance of gay and lesbian relationships in general.

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Millennials are also far less critical in their moral evaluations of same-sex sexual relationships than seniors. Millennials are also more accepting of pre-marital sex than older generations.

Same Sex Marriages (Genders and Sexualities in the Social Sciences)

However, they are as likely as seniors to say abortion is morally wrong. Public attitudes about same-sex marriage have been steadily becoming more favorable over time. Within the last 5 years public support for same-sex marriage has increased significantly, with many polling organizations recording double-digit increases in support over this period. Polling from Public Religion Research Institute has confirmed the increase in support in compared to previous years, with a cluster of findings now showing about half or a small majority of Americans supporting same-sex marriage.

The Millennial generation is more supportive of public policies protecting rights of gay and lesbian Americans than older Americans. The generational differences between Millennials and seniors are the greatest on the issue of same-sex marriage, but there is at least a point generation gap on each policy measure included in the survey.

There are major religious groups on each side of the debate over allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry legally. On the other hand, large majorities of white evangelical Protestants and African American Protestants are opposed.


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Frequency of religious attendance is strongly correlated with support for same-sex marriage, but the attendance patterns matter somewhat more for Protestants than for Catholics. The support gap between Protestants who attend weekly or more and those who attend once or twice a month or a few times a year is a striking 25 points. The religious attendance affect is more muted among Catholics.

The support gap between Catholics who attend weekly or more and those who attend monthly or a few times a year is 17 points. The differences are greatest between the sexes on intensity of support. Gender differences also persist within the Millennial generation. Support for same-sex marriage is positively correlated with higher education levels.

Democrats are much more supportive of same-sex marriage than Republicans, with those identifying as Independents closely mirroring the general public. Those identifying with the Tea Party are more opposed to same-sex marriage than other Americans, including Americans who identify as Republican. Seven-in-ten Americans who support civil unions also support same-sex marriage. Younger and older Americans approach the issues of same-sex marriage and civil unions differently.

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Among seniors, there is a point difference in support levels for the two policies. Strong majorities of religiously unaffiliated Americans every major religious group except white evangelicals and black Protestants support civil unions. Majorities of every age group except seniors support allowing gay and lesbian couples to adopt children. The divisions between religious groups on the issue of adoption closely track the divisions on the issue of same-sex marriage.

The partisan divisions on attitudes towards adoption also mirror the findings for same-sex marriage. Patterns of support closely resemble other gay and lesbian rights issues, with Millennials among the most supportive. Majorities of Democrats, Republicans and Independents also support anti-discrimination laws. Few Americans see either abortion or same-sex marriage as critical issues in the country today. Of the six issues measured in the survey — unemployment, the federal deficit, immigration, the environment, abortion and same-sex marriage — Americans are least likely to say that these social issues are critical.

The issues of abortion and same-sex marriage both show an intensity gap between opponents and supporters, with opponents much more likely than supporters to say it is a critical issue. The issue of abortion shows a similar pattern. As voting issues, both same-sex marriage and abortion are more important to opponents than supporters. Independents closely resemble the general public.

The political liability for political candidates expressing public support for same-sex marriage has diminished by a factor of 4 over the last few years. Forty-five percent say it would not make a difference. Millennials, women, Democrats and college educated Americans report being more comfortable with gay and lesbian people across these six different positions than seniors, men, Republicans, and those with less than a college education. Half of the public say that more companies providing health benefits to partners of gay and lesbian employees is a good thing for society. One-in-four Americans say that more churches allowing openly gay and lesbian people to become clergy is a good thing for society.

One-third of the public say this trend does not make a difference to society. There are significant differences between Americans by frequency of worship attendance. There are significant divisions by age, community type, and region. Brand new Book. Seller Inventory LHB Seller Inventory APC Book Description Palgrave Macmillan.

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Smart; A. Heaphy ; C. Smart ; A. Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan , Views vary somewhat by region and significantly by community type. Interestingly, there is no significant difference between supporters and opponents of same-sex marriage in perceptions of difficulty of living openly as a gay or lesbian person.

On a wide range of different personal behaviors, Americans are more likely to evaluate behaviors related to sexuality as morally wrong than morally acceptable. Two-thirds of Americans say that sex between a young man and young woman under the age of 18 is morally wrong. Younger Americans are generally more likely to say certain personal behaviors are morally acceptable than older Americans, with the important exception of abortion. With the exception of white mainline Protestants, majorities of all major Christian groups say that sex between two adults of the same gender is not morally acceptable.

Americans are slightly less likely to say that sex between two adults of the same gender is a sin than they are to say it is morally wrong. There is considerable diversity of opinion among religious groups on the question of whether sex between two adults of the same gender constitutes a sin or not. The survey measured two different approaches to moral traditionalism and moral reasoning: a measure of openness to change vs. On the first measure of openness to change vs. Views on this question are strongly associated to views on a range of gay and lesbian issues.

Americans are more closely divided on a measure of contextual vs. These contextual vs. While Americans overall have reservations about the morality of same-gender sexual activity, these reservations do not directly translate into negative moral and religious evaluations of gay and lesbian people.

5 Same-Sex Couples Tell Us What It’s Like To Be Legally Married

This composite measure provides a clearer picture of how Americans morally and theologically view gay and lesbian people and same-sex relationships. There are dramatic differences by religious affiliation. Majorities of every major religious group, with the exception of black Protestants and white evangelical Protestants, have either somewhat or very positive moral and theological views of gay and lesbian people.

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A majority of every age group except seniors have a somewhat or very positive moral and theological view of gay and lesbian people. In fact a significant number of Americans who morally disapprove of same-gender sexual relationships still support rights for gay and lesbian people. There are large differences between religious groups on this question. Americans are more comfortable today with the idea of their place of worship blessing gay and lesbian couples than they were in the past.

In , Americans were evenly divided over whether blessings of gay or lesbian couples would constitute a reason to look for another place to attend.


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There are only minor variations among age and religious groups on this question. A majority of all religious groups say that they do not hear about welcoming gay and lesbian people in church, although there are some surprising differences between religious groups.

There are dramatic differences in perceptions by age. With the exception of white evangelical Protestants, majorities or pluralities of every major religious group agree that religious groups are alienating young people by being too judgmental about gay and lesbian issues. There are only modest differences on this question by age. Some caution should be exercised in interpreting these results because of small sample sizes.

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