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Shift in national attitudes toward gay marriage

Posted at: 03/21/2013 3:19 AM

The nation's views on gay marriage are more favorable in large part because of a shift in attitudes among those who know someone who is gay or became more accepting as they got older of gays and lesbians, according to a national survey.
 
The Pew Research Center poll also finds that a large group of younger adults who tend to be more open to gay rights is driving the numbers upward. The issue has grabbed the national spotlight recently with the public embrace of same-sex marriage by Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton and Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio.
 
"We've certainly seen the trend over the last ten years," Michael Dimock, director of the center, said Wednesday. "But we're now really in a position to talk about the combination of generational change and personal change that have sort of brought the country to where it is today."
 
Overall, the poll finds 49 percent of Americans favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally, and 44 percent opposed to the idea. That's more people now favoring gay marriage than opposing it. A decade ago 58 percent opposed it and a third supported it.
 
The 49 percent who now support same-sex marriage includes 14 percent who said they have changed their minds.