Writing about the results of Gallup’s new poll yesterday, with 50% of all Americans supporting gay marriage, we had no idea that President Obama would make today’s announcement, as the first American president to endorse gay marriage.
Pew Research shared this view of American attitudes on gay marriage in late April, with a smaller group of Americans opposed (43%) than yesterday’s Gallup results (48%).
The decision by President Obama to make today’s announcement does come with political risk, especially in swing states like Pennsylvania, Virginia, Ohio and North Carolina — which last night voted for a state constitutional amendment against gay marriage and also legal rights and benefits for cohabiting couples.
Age, Gender & Religious Gaps on Gay Marriage Attitudes
There is a gender gap in the Pew Research results, with women consistently being more receptive to gay marriage. Similarly, the age gap is very visible with only 30% of 19-29 year olds opposed to gay marriage, versus 56% over 65.
The decline in opposition to gay marriage is intense, even among the oldest of Americans. In 2004 74% of Americans 65 and older were opposed, compared to 56% just eight years later.
Also worth noting are Catholic attitudes about gay marriage, with only 42% opposed.
In New York, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, called Obama’s decision “deeply saddening.”
“I pray for the President every day, and will continue to pray that he and his administration act justly to uphold and protect marriage as the union of one man and one woman,” Dolan said in a statement.
Given the verbal assault on President Obama by Catholic bishops over the contraception mandate compromise, Cardinal Dolan’s remarks are amazingly circumspect. Those of us who follow Catholic Church politics daily know that Catholic bishops may be overplaying their hand the last few months.
Before activists like me start protesting outside Catholic Churches in the coming months, Catholics are leading the way. Read Marian Ronan’s Religious Dispatches Only 5 Million “Real” Catholics in the US?; and also Methodists Vote to Keep Homosexuality ‘Incompatible” at Religion Dispatches.
Track all our AOC front page news about Catholic bishops.