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Most Americans Support Gay Rights, Oppose Gay 'Marriage'

The majority of Americans still opposes gay marriage and believes homosexuality is morally wrong despite a cultural shift that has drastically raised public support for gay rights, revealed a Gallup P
( [email protected] ) Jun 01, 2006 09:40 AM EDT

WASHINGTON – The majority of Americans still opposes gay marriage and believes homosexuality is morally wrong despite a cultural shift that has drastically raised public support for gay rights, revealed a Gallup Poll released Wednesday.

According to Gallup, trends reveal that public support for gay rights considerably expanded over the past three decades. This is seen in the percentage considering homosexuality an acceptable lifestyle, growing from 34 percent in 1982 to a majority by 2001, and the percentage of those who believe homosexual men and women should have equal rights in the workplace, which also grew from 56 percent 30 years ago to 88 percent in 2003.

However, data collected from a May 8-11 survey of 1,002 randomly selected adults aged 18 and above shows that 51 percent of Americans still say homosexuality is morally wrong and only 39 percent believe gay marriage should be legalized.

The support for gay rights has primarily come from women under 50, self-described “liberals,” and non religious Americans. On the opposition stands seniors, men over 50, self-described “conservatives,” and highly religious Americans.

The dichotomy stems from big gaps in the perceived morality of homosexuality. Whereas 74 percent of liberals view homosexuality as morally acceptable, only 18 percent of frequent churchgoers say the same.

The survey also revealed a strong generational split, with 54 percent of those under 40 years old accepting the morality of homosexuality compared to 32 percent of seniors.

According to Peter Brigg, Vice President of Policy at the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council, the generational gap is “not surprising.”

“The homosexual activists have made a concerted effort to propagandize the younger generation and the public schools themselves,” Brigg said. “There is an effort to inject pro-homosexual policies into the curriculum and an attempt to silence people who will present an alternative point of view.”

The new Gallup poll was released as the Senate prepares to take up the Federal Marriage Amendment next week.

Brigg said that despite the younger generation’s opposition, Congress should pass the amendment on behalf of the general public.

“I think it’s clear that we have a majority of people who believe that marriage should be defined as a union between a man and a woman,” said Brigg. “We don’t want the courts to redefine marriage, and that’s why we need this amendment now.”