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Analysis of Gay & Lesbian Issues Polling by Pew Research Center
Topics: LGBTQ

Today PRRI hosted a discussion of our new report analyzing more than two decades of polling by Pew Research Center on attitudes about lesbian and gay people, related public policy issues, and religion.

The new comprehensive report by PRRI reviews the entire history of polling by the Pew Research Center on the issue of homosexuality and gay rights since 1987.  It examines shifting public attitudes on same-sex marriage, civil unions, military service, and more.  The report also evaluates Pew’s question design, context, and question frequency, and offers suggestions for future best practices.

Some of the findings that the speakers highlighted include:

•    Support for civil unions has steadily increased, moving up 12 points from 45% in 2003 to a solid majority 57% in 2009, with a spike to 58% support happening in 2005.

•    Support for same-sex marriage has also increased, though less steadily. Support for same-sex marriage has increased from 30% in 2003 to 38% in January 2010.

•    Support for adoption by gay and lesbian couples grew from 38% in 1999 to 46% in 2008, with 48% opposed. Over the last thirteen years, the percentage of Americans who agreed that more gay and lesbian couples raising children was “a bad thing” for society fell by 14 points, from a solid majority (56%) in 1997 to only 42% in January 2010.

•    The percentage of regular church attenders who say their clergy talk about “laws regarding homosexuals” increased from 36% in 1996, to 41% in 2003, and to 52% in 2006. In 2003, nearly three-quarters of those who had heard their clergy speak about “issues related to homosexuality” reported that their clergy said homosexuality should be discouraged.

Click here to learn more or read the full report.