Survey: Acceptance Growing for Gay Families

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com September 15 2010 11:50 PM ET

The majority of Americans are widening their view of what it means to be a family — and same-sex couples with kids fit the definition.

The findings are published in the Russell Sage Foundation's new book on
gay rights, "Counted Out: Same-Sex Relations and Americans' Definitions
of Family." The authors of the book intended to demonstrate that
definitions of family are expanding in America.

Brian Powell, a sociology professor at Indiana University, Bloomington, is hopeful about his findings. Since the surveys began in
2003, the proportion of people who reported having a gay friend or
relative went up 10 percentage points, Powell told The New York Times.

"This indicates a more open social environment in which individuals now
feel more comfortable discussing and acknowledging sexuality," Powell
said. "Ironically with all the antigay initiatives, all of a sudden
people were saying the word ‘gay’ out loud. Just the discussion about it
made people more comfortable."

But the authors told The Times that the findings don't speak for the entire public.

“Neither
the numbers from our data nor actual votes on initiatives are anywhere
near the sufficient magnitude to support the idea that the public is
ready to embrace same sex-couples with open arms,” the authors told The
Times
. But still, the authors “envisage a day in the near future when
same-sex families also will gain acceptance by a large plurality of the
public.”