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The Majority of American’s Support Same Sex Marriage
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Going back to the 80’s there was virtually nothing to be heard of in America about support for gay marriage or gay marriage period. Now, just a quarter century later gay marriage is now in a clear majority within the United States.

This has been a very dramatic opinion shift and is one of the fastest deviations in opinion within the history of this country. In a widely respected and comprehensive survey from the General Social Survey which measures American trends on a large variety of attitudes within American culture for over four decades.

Widespread support for same sex couples to be able to marry has jumped 45 points since the question was first raised in 1988. A time when there was only 11% of Americans that supported the idea of same sex marriage. Just in the last two years it’s risen another 8%. There is only 1/3rd of Americans that don’t support the idea of same sex marriage today.

Since 2012, the largest supporting shift has been from Republicans. An overwhelming majority (45%) considering the party who now support same sex couple marriage rights is staggering. Since 2012 it’s jumped 14% to that 45% figure of today.

There are a large number of things that simple don’t have much of a shift. The majority of things will either change extremely slow or not change at all. According to the General Social Survey this is one of the most impressive changes they’ve every measured.

The survey data for 2014 was just recently released. It was an analysis on their gay marriage findings and was conducted through the General Social Survey along with the Associated Press NORC Center for Public Affairs.

As the support of rights to marriage for same sex couples has continued to rise, so has the acceptance for the overall relationships for same sex couples in general. Even though 4 out of every 10 Americans still believe that sexual relationships between those of the same gender are always wrong that amount has gone down by half since 1987. The dynamic shift is somewhat staggering when you consider that in 1976 only 53% of Americans even believed that a gay person should even be allowed to teach at a college/university and that has shifted to 88% saying there is no issue with that.

The 2014 surveys release is something that comes as the courts on the federal level have increased (and rapidly so) the amount of states that now have full marriage equality. There are 36 states that are now issuing same sex marriage licenses. Before July it’s expected that the Supreme Court will issue their ruling on whether or not states will be able to legally exclude gay couples from being able to marry or if marriage equality will be spread nationwide if those bans are deemed to violate the United States Constitution.

Americans to the tune of 56% now agree that gay and lesbian couples should now be granted the right to marriage equality which is a jump from the 2012 survey of 48%.

Even though the largest growth factor is from Republicans it’s still important to note that both Democrats along with Independents are the most likely segment to support full marriage equality for gays and lesbians. Democrats are much more likely to support marriage equality shifting to 65% up from the 59% in 2012. Support among Independents stayed steady at 54% supporting full marriage equality.

In all three groups, when the question was first asked in the 1988 study, marriage equality is something that hovered within the 1%-10%.

Also found in the survey was an increase of more than double digits over the last two years in 50-64 year olds. More than half of them now favor full marriage equality. Among the 18-34 year old segment, more than 70% support full marriage equality.

At least 50% or more of Americans within all age groups, with the sole exception of the 65+ group, now favor full marriage equality.

About the General Social Survey

Prior to 1994 their general sample sizing was 1,500. That grew to between 2,700 and 3,000 until 2008. For the most recent surveys there were 2,000 interviews conducted. When you look at the margin of error being +/- 3.1% with the smaller of the sample sizes and +/- 2.2% for the larger samples you get a 95% degree of confidence. March 31st to October 11th were the dates for the 2014 survey. The survey was conducted with 2,538 American adults. The General Social Survey’s cumulative file was utilized for the years 1972 through 2014 in order to produce the presented statistics.

The NORC at the University of Chicago administers the General Social Survey. They use primarily in person interviews for all their surveys. The General Social Survey begin in 1972 and recently completed their 30th round in 2014.

The NORC is an independent research organization and gets their funding from the National Science Foundation. They’re very highly regarded as a data source about trends in social attitudes due to their long running status and the comprehensive sets of questions they ask about the American public’s demographics and attitudes.