California took center stage on legal battles over the ban on same-sex marriage, Proposition 8. The Supreme Court avoided making a value judgment on the issue, but Prop 8’s demise reflects the fact that majorities in California support gay marriage.
The Public Policy Institute of California found that every subgroup in California became more supportive of gay marriage after Prop 8’s original passage. The largest increase was among California Republicans. In five years, there was a 23 percent increase in support among those affiliated with the party. Only 23 percent showed suport in 2008, but is now nearing a majority.
Those affiliated with Democrats and those who are Independent show 63 percent and 61 percent of support, respectively:
Californians aren’t the only ones who are increasingly supportive. Both the state and national sentiment is turning positive, as pointed out by the PPIC:
“Growing acceptance is also reflected in national polls: surveys by ABC News/Washington Post, Gallup, the Pew Research Center, and NBC News/Wall Street Journal, among others, now find majorities of adults nationwide in favor of allowing same-sex marriage.”
Since the year 2000, attitudes toward same-sex marriage have flipped. The tide turned between 2009 and 2010 when support began to outnumber opposition. From 2000 to 2013, support went from 39 percent to 56 percent, while opposition went from 55 percent to 38 percent.
In a January 2013 PPIC poll, 56 percent believed the federal government should rule on marriage rights, while 35 percent believe the decision is for states to make. Two-thirds of Californians said the recent Supreme Court decisions were personally important.
The attitudes towards same-sex marriage are clearly changing in California and in the nation. It may be a matter of time before it is embraced nationally. The younger generation – the most supportive age bracket – becomes older and the next generations will grow up in a world of acceptance.