Gallup Poll: Support for Legal Gay Relations at Highest Ever

In 1978, Gallup started polling the American public on whether homosexual relations between consenting adults should or should not be legal. At that time 43% said they should be legal.

The organization reports today that the percentage has risen to 64%, the highest ever.

They add:

"Americans' support for legal gay relations has been as low as 32%, in 1986, but increased to 47% by 1989 and went above the majority level in 2001 for the first time. After peaking at 60% in May 2003, public support dropped that same year, likely as a backlash against a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down a Texas anti-sodomy law and gave gays and lesbians new legal protections in that state. By 2006, Americans returned to the more supportive level seen previously, and generally held there until the increase this year."

And the percentage who find it "morally acceptable" has reached a new high as well.



  1. Francis says

    So basically, we have around 50-60% of the country that are not completely ignorant. That’s a good thing, better than it was. But that still means over 1/3 of the country still more or less hates us and think were scum of the Earth. I know acceptance is increasing, but I fear some people are naive in thinking that everything is just all better and that things are just great now. Improvements have been made, but that’s generally with people who have always been on our side. Cultures that are historically anti-gay, still are anti-gay, and when that changes, then and only then will we have seen real change.

  2. ratbastard says

    What’s really pathetic is [according to this poll at least] roughly 35% think homosexual relations between consenting adults should be illegal!

    These statistics need to be broken down by region, gender, race, socio-economic background, etc., to get a better grasp of who thinks what. The broad figure quoted here is pretty meaningless.

  3. TampaZeke says

    Things are better but it’s still frustrating and distressing that such a significant portion of Americans, in 2011, still believe that our relationships should be illegal and that our relationships are immoral.

    How does a country with so much ignorance and stupidity get to be the most powerful country on earth?

  4. Matthew says

    At first I thought this was referring to same-sex marriage. Then I realized this was talking about ANY gay relation. This is pretty sad that only 64% think that any type of gay relation should be legal. This might be a new high, but it’s not something to celebrate.

  5. Francis says

    It’s pretty much common knowledge at this point what groups tend to be anti-gay and what groups tend to be gay supportive. Liberals are the most gay supportive. Moderates/libertarians tend to be gay supportive overall. Educated people 32 and under (and educated people in general) tend to be gay supportive. The less religious a person is, the more gay supportive they are likely to be. Women tend to be much more supportive than men, especially moderate/conservative females in comparison to moderate/conservative men. People in rural areas and lower class individuals in general tend to be less gay positive.

    There are very, very clear distinctions in who tends to be gay positive and who isn’t. Again, to see the number of people who consider us sub-human go down, there needs to be improvements within the groups that are typically anti-gay.

  6. Gregv says

    I think the change is much greater than the numbers show, because people have evolved into interpreting the question differently.
    When they asked this question in 1978, it hadn’t been that long since men thrown in jail for even dancing with each other, and other such “homosexual activities.”. Many respondents surely thought they were being asked whether we should be allowed to even walk down the street.

    In 2011, unless you’re asking in someplace like Uganda, when people are asked whether our relationships should be “legal,” their mind goes right to thinking they’re being asked about pension benefits and inheritance rights for our spouses.
    Things have changed since 1978. If you’d surveyed them, for example, on the best use for an Apple, they’d have suggested eating it, not surfing on it.

  7. Mark says

    I doubt if we even have as much support as these polls show. There’s no way to tell if these people are being honest about their feelings on the issue. To a pollster on the street or over the phone they might say they’re supportive of gay relationships just because they feel it’s the politically correct thing to say. But voters have no trouble expressing their anti-gay feelings on election day in the privacy of their voting booth.

  8. Paul R says

    WHAT? How can this be accurate? So 51% say we should be allowed to marry, but only 64% think we should even be allowed to have relationships? I honestly would have thought it would be 90%. People may not approve of us for whatever reason, but I can’t believe they’d think we shouldn’t be allowed to be together. How pathetic.

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