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Saluting the Rainbow Flag

Gay acceptance in America is trending up

By Rich_Maloof Jun 7, 2012 5:04PM

Photo: Lisa Stokes/Flickr/Getty ImagesWhen President Obama said in a speech last night that the U.S. has seen a "constant progression toward including more and more people in the American dream," his opponents were quick to charge him with pandering to the evening's audience. His campaign stop at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel ballroom was, after all, sponsored by deep-pocketed gay and lesbian donors. 

But the results of a CNN poll released just yesterday bear him out: American acceptance of gay lifestyle is on the rise.

Of course, not everyone thinks the country's LGBT contingent is hands-down fabulous. But attitudes are clearly becoming more inclusive. For the first time ever, the poll suggests, a majority of Americans say they have a close friend or family member who is gay. Just 49% said so, or admitted it, two years ago; but in yesterday's poll, 60% replied in the affirmative. The survey also indicated a growing acceptance of same-sex marriage. 

Have a look at the complete poll results, which break down results by race, education level, political affiliation, and other factors. To an extent, we're divided along predictable lines: 70% of Dems say same-sex marriages should be recognized by the law as valid, while 72% of Republicans surveyed were opposed. There's an age divide as well, with nearly two thirds under age 50 favoring legal same-sex marriage and almost as many over age 50 opposed. It's striking how gay issues are so polarizing even as acceptance broadens. But don't prejudge your conservative elderly neighbor with the framed picture of Reagan on his mantel. Then you'd be the one guilty of bias. There's still room in those stats for him to be enjoying Will & Grace re-runs behind the shades.

The poll doesn't say why, who, how, or what has changed American attitudes. Could we be getting smarter? Well, let's not jump the gun. But there has been a slow and steady cultural push against ignorance in recent years. Minds aren't easily changed by loud opposition and foot-stomping marches, though soap-box advocates play an important part in swinging the pendulum from right to left. Attitudes settle more comfortably in the middle when great role models -- not good models of gay life, necessarily, but gay people who model a good life -- emerge in America's boardrooms, in houses of worship, on our TV screens, and in our neighborhoods. 

America may not yet have made a wholesale change in attitude toward the gay community. But we're evolving.

Photo: Lisa Stokes/Flickr/Getty Images

Jun 8, 2012 1:41AM
Since when does acceptance of a morally corrupt lifestyle indicate that people are getting smarter?
Jun 8, 2012 1:38AM
I believe the title of this article is misleading as with all MSN articles.  Acceptance isn't on the rise as much as people prefer not to state their opinions for fear of being branded a hater.  Just like pot in California.  Everybody was for it until it came to an ananymous vote.  Then guess what, it lost.  Just sayin.     
Jun 8, 2012 1:37AM
Yea! As it should! To all you bigoted, hateful, brainwashed, intolerant, narrow-minded people that have made horrible anti-gay comments here: Times are changing...acceptance and tolerance is growing, whether you like it or not. People are becoming more evolved and intelligent AND realize people are people and all people deserve equal rights.There is good and bad in this world and sexual orientation has nothing to do with it...so, stop being so scared and hateful. GAYS AND LESBIANS simply will not tolerate the hatred and discrimination anymore. So get with the times or crawl back under your rock....We are sick and tired of hearing your hatred and judgement. Thank you. EQUAL RIGHTS FOR ALL!!!
Jun 8, 2012 1:37AM
I say give it about 10 years and we'll find out just who really is gay and who thinks that being gay is cool.
Jun 8, 2012 1:37AM
Thank God something is finally making sense in this world. People who are commenting on this disagreeing: why did you bother reading the article? Take your negativity elsewhere.
Jun 8, 2012 1:36AM
Well I will agree with one thing....If you want a really good haircut....a queer is usually the way to go.
Jun 8, 2012 1:36AM
Gay acceptance on the rise? Who the heck are you talking  to. The people I talk to want to puke. It is not a normal lifestyle, period.
Jun 8, 2012 1:35AM
I'm so sick of bigot breeders commenting on here about how we gay people have to stop "shoving" our life down your throats.  You know what, you ****ing hypocrites, how about YOU stop shoving your hetero, breeder lifestyle down our throats?  I don't want to hear about what you did with your wife or husband last night or during the weekend.  And I don't care about your stupid kids and their ****ing sports events.  I don't want to hear about how much you love your wife, girlfriend, husband, boyfriend, ****buddy.  I don't want to know about your stupid, bigoted, hypocritical, breeder lifestyle so shut the **** up!!! 
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