Gay Marriage 2013: In a Few Years, the Debate Will Be Over


According to the latest survey conducted by Gallup, support for gay marriage has been above 50% in three different readings within the last year. The latest reading holds at 53% with the percentage of people opposed to gay marriage decreasing with each polling. Rhode Island and Delaware have recently recognized gay marriage, as more states are bound to follow well before the year ends. So what does this entail for the future of same-sex marriage in America?

Trends are pointing in the direction that acceptance is on the rise and here to stay — that much is inevitable. And while there appears to be majority acceptance in support of gay marriage, there are still exist polarized opinions when it comes to subgroups in the United States.

The Gallup survey goes on to break down where the support for gay marriage is coming from. Politically, Democrats and liberals are overwhelmingly supportive, with their polling numbers at 69% and 80% respectively in 2013. The same can be said of independents and moderates, whose numbers are at 58% and 60%. Falling into last place are Republicans and conservatives, at 26% and 28%. The age breakdown also largely follows expected patterns, with a smaller number of older people, who traditionally tend to be on the more conservative side, supporting gay marriage. People ages 50-64 have a 46% support rate, while people aged 65+ have a 41% support rate. And of course, those within the millennial category or just outside of it boast the highest percentages.

As far as effects gay marriage may have on society, the number reveals another fascinating trait into the collective public opinion. For all subgroups, the belief that gay marriage will change society for the better shows low percentages. But in terms of gay marriage changing society for the worse, those numbers spike when it comes to the Republican and conservative categories. 

Despite the vast differences found within particular subgroups, majority opinion holds that the war on gay marriage has plateaued. In 2013, it is more likely than ever to see arguments for rather than against gay marriage. The tides of change are most certainly in favor of the pro side.  As a reporter who has been extensively following the progress of gay-marriage rights, interviewing stakeholders, and writing on their points of view, one way of thinking that I've come across repeatedly is the idea that the gay-marriage debate is "done." Or in the words of my fellow journalists, "It's no longer a story." And while there will always be those subgroups of people entirely not in support, they are quickly becoming the unpopular minority on an issue that is bound to find its happy ending (for gay couples) in the near future.