Same-sex relations get record-high approval

May 26, 2011

Nearly two-thirds of Americans say same-sex relations between
consenting adults should be legal—the highest percentage ever recorded
by Gallup.

Researchers found that 64 percent of American adults
supported the legality of gay relations, an issue that Gallup has
included in surveys since 1977.

In 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court's Lawrence v. Texas decision struck down state antisodomy laws that had been used to criminalize homosexual activity.

Despite
the high rate of support for the legality of gay relations, Americans
are less likely to consider them "morally acceptable"—only 56 percent
endorsed that view. That figure is the highest since Gallup first asked
that question in 2001.

Americans who believe same-sex orientation
is inherited are much more likely to think gay relations are morally
acceptable, with 81 percent approval, compared to just 33 percent among
those who believe a person's sexual orientation is due to environmental
factors.

The same poll, taken May 5–8, found that a majority of
Americans (53 percent) supported gay marriage for the first time since
Gallup started tracking the issue in 1996.

Catholics are more
likely than Prot­estants to support legal same-sex marriage, and it is
also favored more by those who attend church less frequently and people
who are unmarried.

The findings, based on telephone interviews of 1,018 adults, have a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.  —RNS