June 13, 2013 | by Michael K. Lavers
Poll: Country has grown more accepting of LGBT Americans

Supreme Court, gay marriage, same sex marriage, marriage equality, Proposition 8, Defense of Marriage Act,

The Supreme Court (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

A new Pew Research Center poll finds the vast majority of LGBT Americans feel the country has become more accepting of them over the last decade.

92 percent of the 1,197 LGBT adults who responded to the survey the group conducted between April 11-29 said society has grown more accepting of them since 2003. Respondents cited a variety of reasons that include knowing someone who is LGBT, President Obama and other high-profile figures advocating in support of gay issues and same-sex couples raising families.

Pew announced the survey results against the backdrop of the anticipated U.S. Supreme Court decisions on the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act.

93 percent of respondents said they support same-sex marriage, compared to 51 percent of the general population. Only 32 percent of Americans backed nuptials for gays and lesbians in 2003.

39 percent of those who responded to the Pew survey said same-sex marriage has drawn too much attention away from other LGBT-specific issues. In spite of this position, 58 percent of respondents said nuptials for gays and lesbians should remain a top priority for the LGBT rights movement.

Maryland is among the nine states and D.C. in which gays and lesbians can currently marry.

Delaware’s same-sex marriage law will take effect on July 1, while nuptials for gays and lesbians will become legal in Minnesota and Rhode Island on Aug. 1. The Nevada Assembly last month approved a bill that would repeal the state’s constitutional same-sex marriage ban that voters approved in 2002.

Sixteen states and D.C. have also added gender identity and expression to their anti-discrimination laws. Thirteen of those states and the nation’s capital include trans-specific protections in their hate crimes statutes.

Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro Padilla García last month signed a bill that bans anti-LGBT discrimination in the U.S. commonwealth.

The New York Assembly in May once again approved a measure that would add gender identity and expression to the state’s non-discrimination and hate crimes laws. The Delaware House of Representatives next week is expected to vote on a similar bill.

In spite of these legislative advances, respondents said they continue to face discrimination because of their sexual orientation or gender identity and expression.

39 percent of those who took part in the Pew survey said a family member or close friend rejected them at some point in their lives because of their LGBT identity. 30 percent of respondents reported they have been physically threatened or attacked, while 29 percent of them said they have felt unwelcome in a church or another place of worship.

Nearly a quarter of respondents said an employer has treated them unfairly. 58 percent of respondents said they have been the target of anti-LGBT slurs or jokes.

Michael K. Lavers has been a staff writer for the Washington Blade since May 2012. The passage of Maryland's same-sex marriage law, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the burgeoning LGBT rights movement in Latin America and the consecration of gay New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson are among the many stories he has covered since his career began in 2002. Follow Michael

2 Comments
  • Fairness, love, equality, safety…these issues shall ALWAYS be a top priority with anyone with common human decency and common sense. The "dark side" always squawks that GLBT communities are demanding "special rights", which is complete and utter bullshit! Equal Rights are Human Rights, and never have, don't now, nor ever shall have a damned thing to do with "special rights", no matter what the "dark side" tries to foster and twist to the contrary.

    "The love in our hearts wasn't put there to stay-
    Love isn't love until you give it away!" – Jon B.

    "Love is a many-gendered thing." – Jon B.

    "Is it more important WHO we love or only THAT we love?" – Jon B.

    "To hell with homophobia! When you hate yourself then it becomes nearly impossible to love anyone else." – Jon B.

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