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Report: Support for LGBT Equality Grows Incrementally but Steadily

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by Nancy Ford

A new report released August 20 by the Public Religion Research Institute, which surveyed attitudes about lesbian and gay people and issues, says support for LGBT equality is steadily increasing. The PRRI report contains a new analysis and assessment of more than two decades of history of polling on attitudes about homosexuality and gay rights since 1987 by The Pew Research Center.

“One of the most prominent findings of the report is the long, general increase in support for the public acceptance of homosexuality and for rights of gay and lesbian Americans, although there are still significant divides on the issues of adoption and same-sex marriage,” said Dr. Robert P. Jones, co-author of the study and chief executive officer of the Public Religion Research Institute.

The report includes an index of every question Pew has asked since 1987, which include questions about the nature of homosexuality, attitudes toward gay and lesbian people, and policy questions. Among the findings: support for civil unions has steadily increased, moving up 12 points from 45 percent in 2003 to a solid majority (57 percent) in 2009.

Similarly, support for same-sex marriage has also increased, though less steadily—from 30 percent in 2003 to 38 percent in January 2010.

Regarding gay parenting, the percentage of Americans who believed that gay and lesbian couples raising children was “a bad thing” for society fell by 14 points, from a solid majority of 56 percent in 1997 to only 42 percent in January 2010.

Support for the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, which would allow gay men and lesbians to serve openly in the U.S. military, rose from 52 percent in 1994 to 61 percent in February 2010.

The report was produced by Public Religion Research Institute with funding from the Arcus Foundation and the Nathan Cummings Foundation.

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