New poll: Americans ambivalent about homosexuality
May 24 2005 12:00 AM ET
Most Americans believe that gays and lesbians should have equal rights in the workplace, but a majority say that sexual relationships between consenting same-sex adults are immoral, according to a new Gallup poll.
Forty-four percent of the 1,000 American adults surveyed in early May said they personally believe homosexual relations are acceptable. Just over half said they are morally wrong.
On the job front, Americans are more tolerant of equal rights, but public support for hiring gays and lesbians for some positions has slipped over the last few years.
Among those surveyed, three in four said gays and lesbians should be hired as salespeople, as doctors, in the military, and for the president's cabinet. This was a slight decline from 2003.
Gallup said that abuse scandals in the Roman Catholic Church have contributed to more significant declines in support for gays in the clergy and teaching. Only 49% said gays should be hired for the clergy, and 54% as elementary school teachers.
Proving the power of language in the debate, survey responses were nine to 10 percentage points higher when the term "gay and lesbian" was used instead of "homosexual." (Alicia Ault, Advocate/Sirius OutQ News)