Conservatives and the far right have been waging a relentless battle to attack the LGBTQ community that has gained steam in recent years — but, despite these often frightening smear campaigns, polling has found that support for gay marriage among the public remains at an all time high.
According to Gallup polling conducted last month, 71 percent of Americans say that same sex couples should receive the same marriage rights as straight couples. This is a record high number and ties with the 2022 results on the same question.
Support for gay marriage has steadily been climbing since Gallup first began polling on the issue. In 1996, only 27 percent of Americans said they believed that gay couples should enjoy the same marriage rights; support passed 50 percent in 2012 — three years before the landmark Supreme Court case protecting same sex marriage rights across the country — and has stayed above that level since then.
The group most likely to think that gay couples should not have the same rights are those who attend church weekly, the polling found, with just 41 percent showing support for the idea. Republicans had the next lowest level of support — and even then, nearly half said they support same sex marriages.
Every other demographic polled — less frequent churchgoers, Southern residents or people aged 50 or older, for instance — showed majority support for gay marriage.
The polling suggests that the right wing’s culture war against the LGBTQ community may not be swaying or reflecting public opinion, despite how prominent homophobic and transphobic opinions seem to be among Republican lawmakers.
Gallup’s results reflect previous surveys that have also found broad support for the LGBTQ community and LGBTQ rights, including polling that specifically found voters oppose anti-LGBTQ laws being passed by conservative lawmakers across the country.
Indeed, despite the public’s broad support for LGBTQ people, Republicans have introduced hundreds of anti-LGBTQ bills, launching attacks on trans peoples’ right to gender affirming care and LGBTQ curriculum in schools, as well as bans on drag shows.
At the same time, Republicans are launching boycotts of any corporations that so much as change their social media logo to a rainbow for Pride month. Recently, right-wing fear mongering has seen vigilantes storming into Target stores across the country to harass and assault employees over pro-LGBTQ merchandise being sold in their stores. Meanwhile, Republican lawmakers have been hurling smears against LGBTQ people, including baselessly accusing LGBTQ people of being “groomers.”
This campaign is having a negative impact on LGBTQ people’s mental health. Last year, the Trevor Project found in a study that the number of LGBTQ people who had experienced suicidal thoughts had increased by 5 percent between 2020 and 2022, as Republican rhetoric intensified against LGBTQ people.
Between these statistics and the widespread medical consensus that gender affirming care is often lifesaving, it appears that Republicans’ ultimate goal is for LGBTQ people to not exist or be able to live freely in the U.S. — a goal with a long, grisly history in the country.
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