By Aaron Earls
As the Supreme Court prepares to rule on state bans on same-sex marriage, the overwhelming majority of Americans feel legal recognition for non-traditional marriages is “inevitable.”
By a 3-to-1 margin (72 to 24 percent), U.S. adults believe it is inescapable that same-sex marriage will be legally recognized, according to the latest from Pew Research.
While little has changed with the overall numbers from two years, there are significant differences from a 2006 survey. Less than 60 percent believed legal recognition was inevitable then.
Interestingly, confidence in the legalization of same-sex marriage fell four points for every generation, except millennials. The youngest generation jumped up 8 points to 78 percent.
That tempered optimism would seem to be placed in individual states retaining the rights to decide the issue. A separate survey from Public Religion Research Institute found 65 percent believe the Supreme Court will overturn state bans on same-sex marriage this summer.
Recognizing that, 3-of-4 opponents (72 percent) of changing the legal definition of marriage in the U.S. now say they would prefer the states decide for themselves instead of it being decided at the national level.
In 2012, opponents of same-sex marriage were divided. Around half (46 percent) supported a state-by-state solution with the same backing a national one.
According to the Pew study, only 33 percent of black Protestants and 27 percent of white evangelicals favor allowing gays and lesbians to legally marry. Both groups have seen support rise in the last 10 years, but only modestly—8 points for black Protestants and 13 for white evangelicals.
That is compared to the unaffiliated jumping 25 points, a 23-point increase for white mainline Protestants, and a 17-point climb for Catholics. All of those groups have clear majorities in favor of gay marriage.
Fervency of beliefs also plays a factor. Those who attend religious services less than weekly are twice as likely to favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally than those who attend weekly or more (68 to 34 percent).
AARON EARLS (@WardrobeDoor) is online editor of Facts & Trends.