According to a Gallup Poll conducted earlier this month, a majority of Americans are not only in favor of granting equal rights to same-sex couples, but also approve the expansion of those rights to all 50 states. When asked, “Suppose that on Election Day you could vote on key issues as well as candidates. Would you vote for or against a federal law that would make same-sex marriages legal in all 50 states?” 52 percent of respondents answered in favor of a federal law legalizing same-sex marriage.
“This adds to the body of evidence in Gallup trends that public opinion on gay marriage has reached a tipping point, whereby the majority now clearly supports it,” Gallup’s Lydia Saad said. “Nevertheless, the issue remains highly divisive, as large majorities of left-leaning, non-religious, and younger Americans endorse it, while right-leaning, religious, and older Americans still oppose it.”
A demographic breakdown shows that 77 percent of self-described liberals are in favor of marriage equality, while only 30 percent of conservatives believe same-sex marriage should be legal.
The release of this poll on Monday comes on the heels of the Pope’s statement regarding the inclusion of homosexuals in the Catholic faith. On his way back to the Vatican following a trip to Brazil, Pope Francis sat down with reporters at a press conference where he said, “If someone is gay, who searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”
This doesn’t indicate that the Catholic Church is prepared to wholly embrace same-sex marriage, but it sends a strong message of tolerance to the more than 75 million Catholics here in the United States alone. In fact, the Pope went on to say, “The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this very well. It says they should not be marginalized because of this [orientation] but that they must be integrated into society.” According to Gallup, 60 percent of Catholics in the U.S. approve of making same-sex marriage legal across the country.
Washington Republicans may not be as willing to reach the same judgment as the head of the Roman Catholic Church has. The rhetoric coming from the most outspoken faction of the GOP is made up of intolerance, bigotry, and pure ignorance. From Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) who argues that granting equality to gay people leads down a dark path where it infringes on the liberties of those who hate gay people, to Dave Agema, a member of the Republican National Committee who posted an article to his Facebook page that states, “Depending on the city, 39-59 percent of homosexuals are infected with intestinal parasites like worms, flukes, and amoebae, which is common in filthy third-world countries”—the GOP could learn a thing or two from the Pope on constituent engagement, or civility at the least.
This extreme view on the right is turning out to be a dwindling ideology across the U.S., given that support for same-sex marriage has reached one of its highest points since falling briefly in 2012. Not only are demographics that oppose marriage equality decreasing at a steady pace, but the legalization of same-sex marriage in 12 states — soon to be 13 — and the District of Columbia as well as the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down DOMA demonstrate the direction in which the U.S. is moving on the issue of equality.
Image: Flickr Commons/Lynn Schibeci