Looks like it's time to rethink some of the common stereotypes about Hispanic culture. In the midst of a media firestorm this past election about the staunch Latino resistance to gay marriage and speculation about whether this made them likely to side with conservative candidates, Hispanic voters quietly but surely made a decision that helped to move forward marriage equality across the country.
Contrary to popular opinion, the Huffington Post and ABC News recently found that a higher amount of Latino voters actually support gay marriage than the general electorate. An NBC Latino survey conducted during the election stated that 60% of Latinos agree that same-sex couples should have the right to marry, with 48% strongly agreeing and 12% somewhat agreeing.
While the survey only had a sample size of 400, making not necessarily indicative or extendable to the entire Latino population, it provides a snapshot of encouraging movement towards acceptance within the community. It's also somewhat backed by the Pew Research Center exit poll for the 2012 election, quadruple the sample size, which shows that 52% of Hispanic population support gay marriage — a radical change from only three years ago in 2009, when just 34% supported it.
These polls comes hot on the heels of several major Latino institutions declaring their support for same-sex marriage. The National Council of La Raza — the USA's largest Latino civil rights organization — voted to place the legalization of gay marriage on their agenda on June 9 of this year, followed by the League of United Latin American Citizens on July 3. An April report released by NCLR showed that the percentage of the Hispanic population supporting gay marriage is actually slightly greater than the general American population. It seems that one of the only things keeping the number from being even higher is the Hispanic evangelical demographic, where there is still a strong majority — 66% among evangelical Protestant Hispanics — opposed to same-sex marriage.
For the first time in American history, it is beginning to look like those opposed are beginning to be in the minority. This is not merely because of President Obama's May endorsement of same-sex marriage, although the number of Democrats supporting it appeared to jump from 59% to 65% in the month following his announcement.
The numbers have been slowly up for years in all demographics, and stem from changing public views about homosexuality in general. As well as being openly portrayed and recognized in many modern forms of media, the most prominent of which may be television, where shows like Modern Family and Queer As Folk recognize and embrace homosexuality as part of the fabric of American culture.
The Pew Research Center found that two-thirds of Democrats now support gay marriage, with CNN polls also finding that 54% of all Americans supporting the legalization of same-sex marriages. This is furthered by the generational divides in support. A strong majority of the younger millennial generation in America now supports gay marriage. This shift in attitudes is especially significant when taking into consideration the fact that this generation has a much longer future in shaping the electorate and electoral college than the baby boomers or silent generation.
After dozens of rejected ballot initiatives over the years, the legalization of gay marriage in Maine and Maryland is a huge breakthrough on its own. As direct vote from the population of the states, these successes be viewed as one more huge stepping stone forward in the fight for marriage equality.
No matter how you slice it, the numbers show a definite inclination towards same-sex marriage on most demographic fronts. Given the prediction of a simultaneous steady rise in the Latino population in America, increasing acceptance of same-sex marriage shown in the Hispanic ranks suggests that it's a trend that won't be reversed anytime soon.