The New Zeitgeist: A Majority of Americans Now Favor Gay Marriage

According to a poll conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute, support for gay marriage by the American public has jumped from 21% in 2003 to 53% today.

The poll results show that 53% of Americans favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry, with 44% of Americans opposed. Among those who feel strongly about the issue, 22% strongly favor legalizing same-sex marriage, while 20% strongly oppose it.

Sixty-four percent of Democrats favor legalizing gay marriage, while only 34% of Republicans favor it. Sixty-two percent of Republicans actively oppose gay marriage. Fifty-seven percent of Independents favor it.

Based on comments I’m seeing on Facebook and elsewhere, I would say that this poll is behind the curve and that the public sensibility is moving so rapidly toward acceptance of gay marriage that the figure is higher than this. From my vantage point, it appears that the numbers are growing exponentially every day.

At the same time, even faithful Catholics are tossing the concept of religious liberty and individual conscience aside. They are adopting and repeating arguments that not only obviate the issues, but are baseless sloganeering. We have indeed reached a cultural tipping point.

The good thing in this is that it reflects an end to social and civil discrimination against gay people. Unfortunately, it also means that the conflation of the civil rights of gay people with the redefinition of marriage leaves our society with a long-term fight.

Those of us who want homosexuals to be treated as full human beings and at the same time preserve traditional marriage and religious liberty have a long road ahead of us. To be honest, I no longer see the issue of homosexuals being accepted as full people to be a concern in our society. I think that’s a done deal.

What is a question is whether or not Christians have enough identity in Christ to maintain their fealty to basic Christian teachings in what will amount to government-enforced violation of their values and religious freedoms. The DOMA decision did indeed, as I said at the time, tip over the table.

In this sudden flood of changed opinions, even Christians in public leadership positions are tripping over themselves to stand against their brothers and sisters in Christ who do not want to be forced to participate in gay weddings. A good number of these people will recant in the years ahead. Most of those who do will have amnesia and claim they never said the things they’re saying. Others of them will drift further away from supporting their fellow Christians until they end up putting both feet over the fence and standing entirely on the other side.

I remember the sudden movement that accompanied Roe. I’ve seen the lies and sloganeering, the dominance by the press as it put out what was propaganda. I’ve seen Christians recover from this sudden loss of clear thinking, and I’ve seen others become hardened in it and lose themselves to it entirely. The one thing I’m sure of is that there is no way to know who will fall into which camp.

However, the Roe debacle is a faint copy of what is happening with gay marriage.

Nothing in my memory equals the intensity with which the public has been “sold” gay marriage and the hatred of the Church and religious freedom which has gone along with it. This is a new post-Christian zeitgeist in which the dominant powers of the culture are locked on and targeting traditional Christian values and traditional Christians. Many of our brothers and sisters in Christ have bought into this and are now promoting it themselves.

It is going to be increasingly difficult for anyone to stay true to Christian values in the times ahead, and I am not talking just about gay marriage. We are not dealing with a fixed situation. This is a moving and constantly degrading target.

What began as “If you don’t support gay marriage, then don’t get gay married” has now become “It is discrimination and hate not to provide services for a gay marriage.” I wrote a post a few days ago about the gathering clouds concerning polygamy, and was astonished by the bold and aggressive support for polygamy that commenters voiced. Polygamy is indeed the new gay marriage.

Euthanasia was once supposed to be limited to terminally ill people who were facing imminent death and in irremediable pain. That argument has been broadened to the idea that euthanasia is about choice and should be offered as a storefront service to anyone, at any time, without question.

We are living in an imploding post-Christian culture.

Americans have been sold lies on a number of issues, all of which have their aegis in a diminution of the distinctness and value of the human person.

I know this is a bleak picture. But it is far from hopeless. The worst aspect of what I’ve described is the seduction of many good Christians by this culture. We have the task of re-converting our lost society, and we will have to do it in the face of self-identified Christians who will fight for and support the anti-Christian zeitgeist. This task is complicated by the fact that Christians who follow Christ’s teachings are rapidly becoming the new cultural hate objects.

It seems a contradiction for me to say that the situation is far from hopeless in the same paragraph in which I describe fallen away Christians using their nominal Christian identity to attack Christian values. But it is inevitable that a good many of our fellow Christians will fall prey to this and become voices of destruction within our churches and religious communities.

The important thing to remember is that it will sort itself out in time. Those who stay true will become stronger in their faith and closer to Christ.

I’ve lived this.

Those who follow the culture will lose themselves to their little g gods. Those who follow Christ will become stronger in Him with a deeper and ever-empowering faith. We’ll become bolder, more fearless witnesses for Him personally, and our numbers will grow as we do it.

We’re not going to lose in the long run. The outcome of this battle is already decided.

I’m going to talk more about this in the future. We’ve got a fight ahead of us.

All I’ll say for now is that it is apt that we have come to this pass at the beginning of Lent.

From Public Religion Research Institute:

Executive Summary

Support for same-sex marriage jumped 21 percentage points from 2003, when Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage, to 2013. Currently, a majority (53%) of Americans favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to legally marry, compared to 41% who oppose. In 2003, less than one-third (32%) of Americans supported allowing gay and lesbian people to legally marry, compared to nearly 6-in-10 (59%) who opposed.

  • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

    Yes, I too am afraid of the terrorism that has caused this sea change. But there’s nothing I can do about it. This culture is done for. All that is left is the Krystalnacht to sweep away people like me into graves.

    • hamiltonr

      Ted, this is not a sprint. It’s a not even a marathon. It’s a battle that has gone on for two millennia and which will continue until Christ comes again. Stay the course. The victory is already ours.

      • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

        I can no longer see that victory. At least, not in the United States of America.

        The church will rebuild from the third world after this one is long gone.

    • SisterCynthia

      Take heart, Ted, Rebecca is right. The great truth of the Faith, “even if I fall seven times, yet will I rise!” Even if the worst scenario imagined occurs, those of us who fight the good fight will not, CANNOT lose. :) I don’t mean oppression or martyrdom are good as experiences, just that the devil can’t win in the end, no matter how much evil he stirs up among the fallen. And any time or place sincere believers have lived for Christ, their suffering brings shame and repentance to those in whom God softens their hearts to turn from evil, whether they are the tepid Christians who sold the faith for worldly praise or the very persecuting agents. It is not going to be easy, and it’s depressing on a human scale, but as Paul says, “We are more than conquerors.”
      Gosh, this actually reminded me to not let despair set in… :)

      • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

        I’m glad you’re able to not let despair set in.

        • SisterCynthia

          Well, the feeling comes and goes and comes back. This just reminded me not to let it win. Things are getting dark in America. But God is still in heaven, the sun and stars are still above, and I know the devil cannot steal a single soul from the hand of Christ. So… all WILL be well, even if the road thru to the end of our time in this world is not the one we would like to tread.

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            Yes, and even though this government may well fall in the mean time, there are plenty of Catholics in Africa and Latin America that will recolonize this land.

  • Guest

    It’s kind of hard to stand against it when all we see in the media are “positive” portrayals of gay “couples,” and news stories about the newest person who “came out”. It’s been so normalized now that anyone who doesn’t endorse and approve is automatically called a bigot, hateful, etc.

    • FW Ken

      Well, I’ve been avoiding using this link, lest Rebecca’s blood pressure go through the roof, but it fits so well as an example of the propaganda that’s driving this travesty.

      http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/02/20/fashion/In-New-York-Some-Couples-Push-for-Legalization-of-Compensated-Surrogacy.html?referrer=

      • oregon nurse

        Oh.my.gosh. If I had the stomach for it I’d take that article paragraph by paragraph and show the hypocrisy and selfishness inherent in most of it. Like this:

        “Mr. Hoylman, now 48, and Mr. Sigal, 47, had not planned to have
        children. “But there comes a point when we were in our early 40s: well, what else is there?”

        Translation: We are rich, bored, self-absorbed middle-aged men who’ve discovered that life as a ssm couple is pretty meaningless and we feel unfulfilled. (looking at each other, smiling) YES! Let’s hire a uterus 3000 miles away and have our own baby. (high fiving) Why didn’t we think of that before??

  • Dave

    I think part of the problems could have been avoided if we didn’t have such an all-controlling federal government. I don’t care if people want to marry a donkey or a DVD in their own minds as long as I am not forced to agree to it. The problem is that, apparently, it’s imperative that all 300+ million of us have to be forced into the same rules.

    The original Constitution which gave most rights to the states is out the window, and all kinds of rights are being read into the Constitution by judges. To actually amend the Constitution is nearly impossible. To simply gain power and read into it whatever you wish is pretty easy.

    This is pointing out very clearly the limitations of democracy. In fact, I think I’m going to coin a new term here – democrazy. If the population in general becomes stupid, insane, brainwashed or some combination of the above, then you get a government that is at best, a farce, and at worst a tool of the devil. Garbage in, garbage out.

    The more frightening thing is that, without basic morality to inform our approach to issues, the deciding factor is sheer power and enforcement. Without Christ to unite us, a false unity is enforced under the heel of a boot.

  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    Like I said before, we officially lost the culture war on Nov 6th 2012 when Obama ran on the most left wing cultural policies ever and won because of it, despite pitifully poor economic progress.

  • FW Ken

    Perhaps it’s worth remembering that abortion -arguably a more fundamental social problem – has had majority approval at various points. Over time, approval has waned.

    It’s entirely possible that the propensity of gay rights advocates to “jump the shark” will create a backlash as well, although the popular media remains commited, so who knows. In fact, this looks like a classic 20-60-20 situation: 20 percent passionately for, 20 percent passionately against, and the rest really thinking about something else.

    • hamiltonr

      Oh it will wane. I don’t know how long it will take. What we have to do now is stand our ground as individuals and follow Christ. Our society is drinking poison. I don’t know how long it will take for it to happen, but the resulting sickness (and appalled disavowal) will come around.

      • Dave

        Sometimes I wonder if support for gay marriage, to be followed by polygamy, polyamory, teenage consent, etc. is not subconsciously motivated by people wishing to make their own sexual foibles look “not so bad.” I do know that many, many people like to bring others faults to light so that they can pat themselves on the back.

        Unfortunately, Jesus isn’t grading on the curve.

        • FW Ken

          It has been suggested before that heterosexuals consider themselves fine despite fornicating their way through college and young adulthood, so can’t imagine how homosexual fornication could be any harm.

    • http://abb3w.livejournal.com/ abb3w

      The GSS shows abortion support has been pretty consistently mixed over the last four decades; ABANY (legality of “abortion for any reason”) peaking no higher than 45% support — marginally higher but still below 50% if you exclude undecided responses. (It’s never fallen below 30%.) Support levels vary on question wording; the few polls that have used the same wording over decades do not show any consistent trendline.

      Support for abortion these days mostly remains near its historic peak — which is one of the political hazards for the legislators who far more than at any time in the last four decades are pushing madly to try to restrict it. (Support for abortion in the case of birth defects is an exception — though still having 3:1 support, that’s a historic low point.)

      Contrariwise, as the PRRI report indicates there’s been a sea-change in attitudes on gay marriage.

  • Mrshopey

    I would like to know where they do the polls. I would like to once participate in one. Also, I have seen these online polls flipped before. It depends on who you get to go and take it and who links to it.

    • http://abb3w.livejournal.com/ abb3w

      The summary of the methodology is in the PRRI report (Appendix 1). It’s not done by a flippable on-line poll, but the usual sort of representative sample used by Gallup, Pew, and the like — phone based, including some cell phones.

  • Colin Gormley

    I suspect that the whole gay issue will only be an issue until its usefulness for undermining any connection between Natural Law and Civic Law has run its course. As soon as it is no longer useful the gays will be kicked to the curb. Kinda like the feminist political groups.

    The real goal of this political clubbing is the total rule of the state. A secular government does not recognize any authority higher than itself.

  • FW Ken

    That 20 percent passionately for ssm is bothering me. Gays make up, at most, 3 percent of the population, though not all of them are for ssm. So who’s the other 17 percent? I recognize that a certain type of straight person engages in gay rights advocacy, but 17 percent of the population? I don’t have a problem with the 53 percent majority saying they are in favor, but passionately?

    • http://abb3w.livejournal.com/ abb3w

      If you’re curious about the demographics, you can probably get an idea by using the SDA GSS tool — try filtering YEAR(2010-2012) to get non-trivial N, then compare using MARHOMO(1) “Strongly agree” on legality as a proxy of the “passionately” on whatever demographics you find of interest.

      As a quick pass, they tend to be disproprotionately young, liberal, democratic (or third party), female, have advanced degrees, higher income, non-hispanic white… and non-religious.

  • http://abb3w.livejournal.com/ abb3w

    While the traffic on Facebook might lead you to think the polls are behind the curve, you should bear in mind that Facebook tends to have disproportionate numbers of the demographics that support gay marriage, particularly the young.

    PRRI is younger and so hasn’t as solid a reputation as the Pew Forum, but the numbers they’re coming up with in PRRI’s report are not that different from what Pew has been finding. The polls seem likely to be accurate, within the usual ±1.7% confidence limit of sample size; and with the limit that the poll was taken three or four months back, which based on trends over the last six years or so probably amounts to another 0.3% in support.


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