Same-sex marriage has never been more popular in the United States than it is today, according to a recent poll.
According to Gallup’s annual Value and Beliefs poll – taken every year during the month of May – 71 percent of Americans claim they support marriage, besting the previous high of 70 percent recorded in 2021.
When Gallup first began the poll back in 1996, only 27 percent of Amercians supported gay marriage. Despite this dismal first poll, support for same-sex nuptials would steadily rise in the subsequent years. Even after the landmark Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court decision in 2015, which legalized same-sex marriage nationwide and overturned existing bans on the practice, Gallup has continued asking the question in its Value and Beliefs poll, which examines attitudes on a multitude of topics dealing with religion, church attendance, and moral issues.
Since June 2015, the number of people who claim they support same-sex marriage has continued to rise as the practice has become more normalized.
Even groups of Americans who have been historically resistant to supporting LGBTQ people in general – such as people above the age of 65, Protestants, and Republicans – have slowly changed their attitudes on same-sex marriage, becoming “mostly supportive” of it, according to Gallup.
But while those findings are encouraging for the LGBTQ community, Gallup found that there is still one group of Americans holding fast to their opposition: churchgoers.
Looking data from 2004 through the present, it’s clear that those who regularly attend church have been more reluctant to support gay marriage than secular Americans. While support among weekly church attendees has risen twofold in the past 18 years, from 20% in 2004 to 40% in 2022, a majority, or 58%, of weekly church attendees remain opposed to the concept.
Conversely, the majority of respondents who say they do not attend church have supported gay marriage in Gallup’s poll since at least 2004. Support among that group has also risen, from 52% that year to 82% in 2022.
Over that same time period, support for same-sex marrage among people who attend church “nearly weekly” or “monthly” – whose opinions mirror that of Americans overall – rose from 31% in 2004 to 70% in 2022.
Despite the overwhelming level of support that Americans now express for same-sex marriage, some advocates are concerned that recent development within the U.S. legal system may ultimately result in the overturning of the Obergefell decision.
In a press release published on June 1, the LGTBQ media advocacy organization GLAAD warned that a “draft opinion leaked in early May” indicating that the Supreme Court plans to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision establishing a right to obtain an abortion – and the right to privacy underlying that decison – could spell doom for same-sex nuptials.
While Justice Samuel Alito claimed in the leaked draft opinion that the court’s ruling would not affect same-sex marriage or other past decisions hinging on the right to bodily autonomy and personal privacy, many LGBTQ advocates are skeptical.
For instance, many of the same arguments used to argue against Roe – including the right of states to craft and regulate their own policies concerning medical procedures and the implied-but-not-stated right to freedom from government interference – were previously used to argue against the eventual decision in the Obergefell case and against the 2003 Lawrence v. Texas decision that overturned laws criminalizing and punishing individuals for engaging in same-sex consensual relations.
While a decision overturning Obergefell would likely be viewed as an unpopular move, Supreme Court Justices are appointed to their positions for life and would likely face no repercussions for issuing such a ruling. The only way to prevent such an occurrence would be for Congress to take action explicitly legalizing same-sex marriages.
“Obergefell and Roe are landmark decisions for a reason, because they ensure freedoms and protections, and are fully supported by a wide majority of Americans,” Sarah Kate Ellis, the CEO and president of GLAAD, said in a tweet. “Congress and the Supreme Court should move to reflect the will of the people by codifying protections against discrimination.”
“Being free to contribute to the success of our communities and country should never be left up to extremist lawmakers or a handful of disapproving justices on the Court,” she added.
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