LGBT Rights (9): U.S. Public Opinion on Homosexuality

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discrimination and hate / equality / law / lgbt rights / statistics


Homosexuals, or LGTB, are a minority that faces different kinds of discrimination, varying from rather moderate forms such as discrimination in family law, over hate crime, to outright criminalization (see here as well) and even capital punishment, depending on the country and the circumstances. Gays suffer rights violations even in countries where human rights normally receive ample protection by the courts and the governments.

Globally, the U.S. does a pretty good job: homosexuality is no longer illegal, and some states allow homosexuals to get married and receive the same benefits as heterosexual married couples. Depending on the survey, many Americans now believe that homosexuality shouldn’t be illegal and that homosexuals should be allowed to marry.

Regarding the public’s acceptance of homosexuality as such (independent of criminalization and marriage rights), the data are still a bit disappointing. A large minority wouldn’t vote for a homosexual presidential candidate, for example. Again depending on the survey, only a small majority or a large minority thinks homosexuality is morally acceptable. But public opinion is growing more tolerant over the years:

attitudes toward homosexuality


Same-sex marriage as well is becoming more acceptable:

state-by-state trends in public support for gay marriage


This graph may be a bit hard to read but it tracks popular support for same-sex marriage at different points in time, for the different states of the U.S., and it indicates whether same-sex marriage is or isn’t allowed in those states.

Gay marriage has increased in popularity in all fifty states. No news there, but what was a surprise to me is where the largest changes have occurred. The popularity of gay marriage has increased fastest in the states where gay rights were already relatively popular in the 1990s.

Policies on gay marriage are highly congruent with preferences – pretty much, gay marriage is legal where more than 50% of the people support it, and illegal where the policy has less than 50% support. (source)


  1. Pingback: The Compatibility of Freedom and Equality (8): Liberty = Freedom From the State + Freedom From Social Pressure + Equality of Opportunity « P.A.P. Blog – Human Rights Etc.

  2. Pingback: What is This Graph About? (1) « P.A.P. Blog – Human Rights Etc.

  3. Ikiru says

    Isn’t that a question people asked about interracial marriage some decades ago?

  4. Pingback: The Attractiveness of Religious Liberty to Those Who Hate it « P.A.P. Blog – Human Rights Etc.

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