Thursday, September 16, 2010

Survey: Growing Acceptance of Gay Families

The New York Times reports that acceptance of gay families with children is growing in America. A recent survey conducted by Brian Powell, professor of sociology at Indiana University, Bloomington, showed that more Americans are including same-sex couples with children and married gay and lesbian couples in their personal definition of what makes a family.

Since the surveys were started in 2003, the number of Americans reporting that they have a gay friend or relative rose 10 percentage points. Powell told the Times, “This is not because more people are gay now than in 2003,” he said. “This indicates a more open social environment in which individuals now feel more comfortable discussing and acknowledging sexuality. Ironically with all the antigay initiatives, all of a sudden people were saying the word ‘gay’ out loud. Just the discussion about it made people more comfortable.”

Powell cautions that the growing acceptance of gay families does not mean that we are there yet in terms of full societal acceptance and equal rights. He says, "Neither the numbers from our data nor actual votes on initiatives are anywhere near the sufficient magnitude to support the idea that the public is ready to embrace same sex-couples with open arms.”

Powell adds that comparing objections to same-sex marriage to the moral objections people once had toward inter-racial marriage is helping. He told the Times, “we envisage a day in the near future when same-sex families also will gain acceptance by a large plurality of the public.”

Interestingly enough, respondents said they to not consider unmarried opposite sex couples a family unless they have children.

Read the full story here.
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