Poll Shows Power of Coming Out

By Julie Bolcer

Originally published on Advocate.com June 06 2012 8:53 AM ET

 

A poll released Wednesday shows that a majority of Americans say they have a close family member or friend who is gay, a shift from the 1990s that analysts say helps explain the rapidly changing attitudes toward marriage equality.

According to the CNN/ORC International survey, the number of Americans who say someone close to them is gay stands at 60% today, compared to 49% in 2010, the first time in CNN polling that a majority of Americans have expressed that. Most Americans in the 1990s said that they did not have a close relationship with a gay person.

The poll also found that 54% of Americans say that same-sex marriages should be recognized by the law, with 42% opposed. Those numbers track other recent national polls, and likewise show that support breaks down sharply by political affiliation and age.

Majorities of Democrats and independents strongly favor marriage equality, while almost three quarters of Republicans oppose it. Nearly two-thirds of those under 50 are in support, compared with 55% of those over 50 opposed.

Four years ago, the poll found that support for marriage equality stood at 44% in favor, with 53% opposed.

See the full results here.