Pew Center: Growing support for gay marriage
Published: Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Updated: Monday, August 27, 2012 16:08
President Obama made headlines recently after revealing in an ABC interview that he supports same-sex marriage, making him the first sitting president to publicly endorse gay nuptials.
His statements reflect the recent changes in public support for gay marriage over the past ten years.
A recent Pew Research Center poll reveals that public support for same-sex marriage is at 47 percent, while 43 percent of Americans are opposed. This is a 12 percent increase from 2001, in which 57 percent of said they were against gay nuptials and only 35 percent of those surveyed were in favor.
“I do support gay marriage,” said Sam Jensen, a sophomore communications major. “I was personally raised to not see gay people any differently than heterosexuals. I feel that they have the same ability to love and care for their partner as anyone else.”
Erin Dugan, a junior Commerce major, says she supports gay marriage, but for different reasons.
“I believed in limited government control, and social issues should be non-issues in politics. Private institutions like the church can be opposed, but the government should not be able to deny any right like marriage to any U.S. citizen,” said Dugan.
Despite individual perceptions, the results of the Pew survey reveal that public support for gay marriage is at a tipping point, and the trend shows no signs of reversing.
Jensen does, however, have doubts about the scope of change in the public’s perceptions of gay marriage.
“I think tolerance depends totally on culture,” Jensen said, “and I have noticed that the people who were mildly tolerant have grown more tolerant, but those groups that had zero tolerance, have either not changed or have become more intolerant.”
Dugan, a self-identified libertarian, says that despite her support for gay marriage, Obama does not deserve credit for his stance. “I think he is doing this to gain votes,” she said, “and he is using social issues to avoid the bigger and more important issues like fiscal and foreign policy.”
Obama’s statement followed Vice President Biden’s May 6 comment on NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’ in which he said he was “extremely comfortable” with same-sex partners getting married and being entitled to all the rights that heterosexual couples enjoy.
The president’s remarks may have been forced by Biden’s public endorsement of same-sex marriage, after which the White House moved swiftly to deny that his comments were the official position of the administration.
Three days later, Obama stated his support for same-sex marriage, making certain that it will be a central issue at the ballot box in November.
“Though I am glad he used his political sway and celebrity to aid the cause,” said Jensen, “I am not very impressed because it seems like it was much overdue.”