of Americans Believe Homosexuality Should Not Be Illegal, Support Partner
Rights: Gallup Poll
May 15, 2003
By Paul Johnson, Washington Bureau Chief
D.C.—A growing number of Americans are supportive of gays and
gay issues a new Gallop poll indicates.
The survey shows that 60 percent of Americans believe
homosexuality should not be illegal. That’s up from 52% last year and 43%
when Gallup first began asking about it in 1977.
The polling company also found that 60 percent believe
gay and lesbian couples should have the same rights as heterosexually married
couples, although the poll also shows that the country is evenly split, 49
percent in favor and 49 percent against, on allowing gay and lesbian couples
to legally form civil unions. This is the strongest support to date in favor
of gay and lesbian relationship recognition. A similar poll by Gallup a year
ago showed 46 percent of Americans favored civil unions, while 51 percent
The new poll also shows that almost 9 out of 10 Americans
agree that gays should have equal rights in terms of job opportunities.
“Americans increasingly understand that gay and lesbian
couples are just like most other American couples, and they have the same need
for healthcare, Social Security benefits, and all the other rights and
protections that most Americans take for granted,” said Human Rights
Campaign Senior Strategist David M. Smith.
The results of the Gallup poll were released one day
after the HRC released an examination of the latest US census that shows gay
and lesbian families across America are almost identical to their heterosexual
counterparts in income, homeownership and other factors, although gay and
lesbian partnerships are not recognized in most states in terms of pension,
and other spousal rights. (story)
“In spite of the overwhelming support for equal
opportunity in the workplace, it is still legal to fire someone based on their
sexuality in 36 states, said HRC Political Director Winnie Stachelberg.
“The time is long overdue for meaningful workplace
protections for this country’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender
The HRC is calling for legislation recognizing gay
relationships and protecting gay workers.
Smith said that the Gallup poll shows there is “ a
steady groundswell of support for gay and lesbian Americans.”
“As more and more gay men and lesbians come out and
live their lives openly, and more Americans realize that gay people are their
family, friends, co-workers and community members—they are better able to
understand the issues facing the gay community,” said Smith.
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