Two out of three Democrats now support same-sex marriage, representing a huge jump from 40% approval just eight years ago, according to a Pew Research poll just released. Pew, which notes momentum ha been building — jumping from 50% in 2008 — also states President Obama’s announcement had only a “limited impact” in Democrats’ support.
Reports that the Democratic Party may add support for gay marriage to its party platform are in keeping with a significant shift of opinion on this issue among Democrats nationwide. Just four years ago, in 2008, only half (50%) of Democrats favored allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally, while 42% were opposed. Support for gay marriage among Democrats has jumped to 65% today, more than double the percentage that is opposed (29%).
The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life and the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted June 28-July 9, 2012, among 2,973 adults, finds that the partisan divide over gay marriage continues to widen. Just 24% of Republicans now favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally, which is only slightly higher than the percentage of Republicans who supported gay marriage in 2008 (19%).
Independent support for gay marriage has grown substantially since 2008. More independents today favor (51%) than oppose (40%) gay marriage; four years ago independents were divided evenly (44% favor, 45% oppose).
Pew also notes “views of homosexuality have changed relatively slowly, if at all, in recent years.”
About half (51%) of Americans believe a person’s sexual orientation is something that cannot be changed, while 36% believe it can. That is little different from six years ago, when the balance was 49% vs. 39%. Similarly, the share who say homosexuality is something people are born with is up only five percentage points (from 36% to 41%) since 2006 – a period in which support for gay marriage jumped by 13 percentage points (from 35% to 48%) and support for gay adoption jumped 10 points (from 42% to 52%).
Scientists have shown homosexuality is a trait that exists at birth.
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