Gallup: There's a 'New Normal' for Americans on Gay Issues

By Lucas Grindley

Originally published on Advocate.com May 14 2012 1:16 PM ET

Gallup is calling acceptance of same-sex couples "the new normal" for Americans, based on its latest polling.

In a poll released today, Gallup found that 54% of Americans say gay or lesbian relationships are "morally acceptable." And this is the third year that a majority have shared that view. The poll also marks a new high, 63%, in the proportion of people who say gay and lesbian relations between consenting adults should be legal.

Support for marriage equality lags behind both those numbers. But it lands at 50% in the latest poll. All three numbers are slightly below last year, which Gallup says could indicate "attitudes may be leveling off — at lest for the time being."

Regionally, it's the South where support for gay people is at its lowest. Compared to the East, Midwest, and West, the South falls way behind. Only 40% of Southerners support marriage, for example, but that number is 56% in the East. Some 43% of Southerners say being gay is moral, compared to 62% in the East, 60% in the Midwest and 58% in the West.

A CBS News/New York Times poll also released today found that nearly two thirds of Americans support some form of legal recognition for same-sex couples. It found that 38% supported marriage equality while another 24% chose civil unions. As always, the number supporting full marriage rights spikes among younger people. Of those aged 18 to 44, 53% supported marriage.

A USA Today/Gallup poll conducted immediately following President Obama's newly announced support for marriage equality found that 60% said his decision would not affect their vote.