Polls Highlight American Views on Homosexuality
Special Report - June 26, 2008
Two recent surveys by different polling groups show that about the same percentage of Americans believe homosexual behavior is morally wrong as believe it is acceptable. Gallup’s “2008 Values and Beliefs” survey, released June 18, found that 48 percent of Americans believe that homosexual relations are morally wrong, and the same percentage (48) believe that homosexual relations are morally acceptable. Since Gallup first asked this question in 2001, the percentage of Americans who believe that homosexuality is morally wrong has dropped five points from 53 percent, while the percentage of Americans who believe that homosexuality is morally acceptable has increased by eight points from 40 percent. When it comes to the acceptability of same-sex marriage, Gallup reports that the majority of Americans oppose same-sex marriage. When asked by Gallup in May 2008 (the latest poll) whether “marriages between same-sex couples should or should not be recognized by the law as valid, with the same rights as traditional marriage,” 56 percent said these relationships should not be legally valid (up from 53 percent in 2007), while 40 percent said they should be legally valid (down from 46 percent in 2007). The Gallup poll notes that, “Americans are more supportive of gay marriage today than they were when Gallup initiated this measure in 1996, but attitudes have changed little since about 2004 when 42 percent said they should be valid.”
A survey of American adults by Lifeway Research, also released in June, found similar responses from American adults about the morality of homosexual behavior. For example, 48 percent of all Americans in the Lifeway survey said that homosexuality is “sinful,” while 45 percent said it is not. Among Americans who identify with a particular religion: 39 percent of Catholics, 61 percent of Protestants, and 79 percent of born-again, Evangelical or fundamentalist Protestants said homosexuality is a sin.
The Lifeway survey also asked Americans to identify which factors they believe contribute to same-sex attraction from the following six choices: choice, determined at birth, influenced at birth, childhood abuse, lack of bonding with parent, and lack of same-sex parent role modeling. 51 percent of Americans in the survey selected “choice” as a contributing factor to homosexuality, followed by 38 percent who selected “birth,” and one-fourth who said child abuse, lack of same-sex parent role modeling, lack of bonding with parent, and influence at birth.
“The results from the Gallup and Lifeway surveys are disheartening, but not surprising,” said Matt Lytle, director of research for the North Carolina Family Policy Council. “Over the past three decades, homosexual activists and their alliesparticularly in the mainstream mediahave successfully driven home the myth that homosexuality is normal and that anyone who believes otherwise is intolerant. While it is good news that the majority of Americans oppose the legalization of same-sex marriage, these findings highlight the need to educate the publicincluding Christiansabout the facts of homosexuality and the dangers of legitimizing it by redefining marriage.”
To read more about the health risks of homosexuality, read the North Carolina Family Policy Council’s article, “The Physical Health Risks of Homosexuality,” which appeared in Family North Carolina magazine in July/August 2007. To read our policy papers on preserving the institution of marriage, go here.
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