Men, political moderates and Catholics increasingly cool with the gays

According to a recent Gallup poll, Americans are becoming increasingly likely to deem homosexuality “morally acceptable.” Lisa at Sociological Images has a full breakdown of the findings, but here are some of the most surprising (and encouraging) gains since Gallup last conducted this poll in 2006:

  • In the last four years, the number of Catholics polled who called gay and lesbian relations “morally acceptable” increased by 16%.
  • In the same time period, the number of self-identified political moderates who called gay and lesbian relations “morally acceptable” increased by 14%.
  • When the data were analyzed by gender and age group, the most rapidly growing rate of acceptance is among men between the ages of 18 and 49. In 2006, 42% of people in this group deemed gay and lesbian relations “morally acceptable.” Now, it is 62%, a whopping 20% increase in only four years.

Keep it up, Catholics, political moderates and men between the ages of 18 and 49!

There’s more analysis by Gallup here, and further discussions of how the numbers change when a poll asks about “homosexuality” vs. “gay and lesbian relations” here.

New York, NY

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia. She joined the Feministing team in 2009. Her writing about politics and popular culture has been published in The Atlantic, The Guardian, New York magazine, Reuters, The LA Times and many other outlets in the US, Australia, UK, and France. She makes regular appearances on radio and television in the US and Australia. She has an AB in Sociology from Princeton University and a PhD in Arts and Media from the University of New South Wales. Her academic work focuses on Hollywood romantic comedies; her doctoral thesis was about how the genre depicts gender, sex, and power, and grew out of a series she wrote for Feministing, the Feministing Rom Com Review. Chloe is a Senior Facilitator at The OpEd Project and a Senior Advisor to The Harry Potter Alliance. You can read more of her writing at

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia.

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Join the Conversation

  • nazza

    I really do think the tide is turning. This is not to say that the struggle is over or that those who advance marriage equality or acceptance of LGBTs have won, but rather that a different, more receptive generational mindset is most crucial.

  • thomas-macaulay-millar

    I am not sure how much people’s attitudes are changing; I attribute much of this to generational replacement. The folks who used to be antigay 47-year-olds are now antigay 51-year-olds. The older cohorts have more bigots, the younger fewer, and any age bracket’s numbers will improve as the less bigoted generation moves into it.

    The anti-gay forces are going to lose numbers as their base ages and eventually become a socially and politically marginal rump. Marriage equality, for example, is coming, and it’s coming everywhere.

    I wonder how this plays out for trans* folks, whose political advancement is often said to be twenty or so years behind GLB rights. If there’s a similar massive generational shift in views, it bodes well for a steady advance for trans folks’ political rights.

  • Emma

    I think it depends on where you are. I’m a Catholic from Philadelphia. I’m definitely down with our homosexual homies. Of course, now I live in the South, where if you say gay, Catholics get twitchy.

  • Amanda

    I agree with what Thomas says about generational replacement. If we continue to raise our children to be more tolerant, open-minded and accepting, perhaps we can replace our population with that kind of mindset as the older generations pass away.

  • Equality72521

    All of this news seems great, and apologies in advance for being Debbie Downer, but I wonder if we overestimate its value as evidence of progress towards the end of homophobia. I imagine cerca 1960 there were surveys that showed increasing numbers of white people who found black people to be “morally acceptable” and yet we still live a world plagued with stereotypes and discrimination. My personal belief is that the root of most homophobia is anxiety surrounding heterosexual gender roles. I fear that until we change what it means to be ideal straight man or woman, gay people and culture will always be perceived as a threat and homophobia and all of its ugly manifestations will endure. When I see the survey that says “60 percent of straight men said the idea of being perceived as gay did not immediately fill them with dread” or “60 percent of men said they realized that saying things like, “I am totally cool with gay people but the thought of gay sex makes me want to puke, I mean GROSS!” may in fact mean that that they’re not totally “cool” with the gays” or even “60 percent of straight woman said they wouldn’t find a man they were considering dating less masculine or attractive if they learned he’d had a homosexual experience at some point”…THEN I’ll think we’re making real progress!!!