For Gays Drops Following Supreme Court Ruling, Poll Suggests
July 29, 2003
By Paul Johnson, 365Gay.com Newscenter, Washington Bureau Chief
Washington, D.C.—A Gallup Poll taken after the
Supreme Court’s groundbreaking decision in Lawrence
vs Texas appears to show American less accepting of gays.
The poll, taken for USA Today and CNN asked whether gay sex between
consenting adults should be legal. 48 percent of respondents said yes while 46
percent said no. It is the lowest support for gays Gallup has found since the
In early May, support for same-sex sexual relations reached a high of
The biggest drop in support, Gallup found, was among African Americans,
down from 58% in May to 36% in July. Among people who attend church almost
every week, support fell from 61% to 49%.
The survey also found rising opposition to civil unions that would give gay
couples some of the rights of married heterosexuals. They were opposed
57%-40%, the most opposition since the question was first asked in 2000.
By 49%-46%, those polled said homosexuality should not be considered “an
acceptable alternative lifestyle.” It was the first time since 1997 that
more people expressed opposition than support.
The survey was taken on the heels of the Supreme Court decision and two
other significant gay events: The legalization of gay marriage in two Canadian
provinces, Ontario and British Columbia, and the announcement by Walmart,
America’s biggest retailer that it had added sexuality to its written
Conservative groups were quick to embrace the new numbers, calling them a
significant backlash against the Supreme Court ruling. “The more that the
movement demands the endorsement of the law and the culture, the more
resistance there will be,” Gary Bauer, president of American Values told USA
Bauer said that the numbers will make it harder for elected officials to
avoid taking positions on such questions as a proposed constitutional
amendment that would bar marriage of gay couples.
But, David Smith, the senior strategist for the Human Rights Campaign,
America’s largest LGBT civil rights organization said not too much should be
read into one poll.
“The findings are consistent with similar polls from 1999 to 2002,”
Smith told 365Gay.com. “Comparing these numbers to the 2003 survey may be an
The Gallup poll is also inconsistent with another poll it took released
July 1 that showed opposition to gay marriage was softening in the US. Three
weeks later, on July 26, a Pew Research poll showed similar numbers. And, a
Zogby International poll released yesterday showed a majority of people in New
Jersey support gay marriage.
“Clearly we are on track for full civil rights,” said Smith, “but we
must continue to monitor the polls and keep them in context.”
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