Majority of Americans Support Jason Collins, Gay-Inclusive Scouts

By Sunnivie Brydum

Originally published on Advocate.com May 09 2013 4:21 PM ET

Nearly 70% of Americans support NBA center Jason Collins' decision to come out as gay, according to a new poll from ABC News and The Washington Post.

While 68% of those surveyed said they support Collins coming out, 15% said they "strongly oppose … the decision by professional basketball player Jason Collins to publicly announce that he's gay." Another 8% said they "somewhat" oppose Collins's announcement, resulting in nearly a quarter of those surveyed who take issue with Collins being gay. 

A majority of those polled — 63% — also support the Boy Scouts of America's pending decision to allow openly gay youth to serve in the organization, while 56% simultaneously oppose the aspect of that proposed policy that would ban gay adults from being scout leaders or troop members. 

The poll was conducted by Langer Research and surveyed 1,008 adults by phone. The survey also asked if the respondents support or oppose "allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally." Keeping in line with recent national trends, the ABC/Post poll found a slight majority — 55% — support marriage equality for gay and lesbian Americans. 

The Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network formalized its support for Collins Wednesday, in a press release that announced Collins will be accept GLSEN's Courage Award at the group's Respect Awards in New York May 20. GLSEN notes that Collins's appearance will be his first at an LGBT event since coming out publicly in an op-ed in Sports Illustrated April 29.

"We are incredibly proud to honor Jason Collins with our Courage Award," said Eliza Byard, GLSEN’s executive director. "His decision to come out is a game-changer for sports and will have a profound impact on the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth, particularly those who participate in or want to participate in athletics. Jason’s actions also send another clear message to young people that sexual orientation can no longer be the standard to unfairly judge an athlete’s ability or potential. Joining the ranks of trailblazers like Martina Navratilova, Greg Louganis, Wade Davis, and Brittney Griner, we have witnessed another obstacle overcome in sports."