Gay Marriage: Have you changed your mind?

Now, the future of marriage is in their hands: the United States Supreme Court.

Now, the future of marriage is in their hands: the United States Supreme Court.

THIS WEEK, the U.S. Supreme Court this week begins hearings on one of the most fundamental human institutions: marriage.

The cases at issue involve California’s gay-marriage ban and a federal law that limits marriage to a man and a woman. This raises lots of questions for OurValues readers. And, this week, I hope you will help us show the value of this kind of column by adding your own thoughts in a civil way. Let’s get a vigorous discussion going on these questions:

Will the high court legalize same-sex marriage?
What’s your view of the institution of marriage?

Have you changed in your mind about same-sex marriage?

Many people have changed their minds—and you might be surprised to learn why!

The court is considering these landmark cases at a time when public opinion has shifted in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage. One clear reason for the shift is age. The younger you are, the more likely you support same-sex marriage. For example, 70% of the Millennial generation (born after 1980) support legalizing same-sex marriage, while only 38% of the Baby Boom generation (born 1946–1964) also support it, according to a report released this month by the Pew Research Center.

But the story isn’t all about demographics.

Many Americans have changed their minds about gay marriage. In 2003, only 51% percent of Millennials favored same-sex marriage. Even members of the Silent Generation—the cohort most opposed to same-sex marriage—have changed their minds. Now, 31% of Americans born 1928-1945 support same-sex marriage, compared to only 17% in 2003.

Why have people changed their minds? The legal arguments revolve around the issue of equal rights. But is that the reason why people changed their minds? The No. 1 reason, according to Pew, is this: knowing someone who is homosexual. Almost a third (32%) said this was why they support gay-marriage now but once opposed it.

Respect for others is the second most-cited reason, given by 25% of those who have changed their minds and are now in favor. Respect for others is one of the ten Core American values, as we’ve discussed before. People who give this reason say they have grown more open, more tolerant, and gotten older and wiser.

How about belief in equal rights? Only 8% of those who had changed their minds gave this explanation as the reason why.

What’s your opinion of same-sex marriage?
Have you changed your opinion?
If so, why?


And, let’s show readers that we can have a vigorous, civil dialogue this week.

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  1. Amanda Udis-Kessler says

    I have not changed my mind about same-sex marriage. I have always supported it because I believe my partner of 15 years and I have the same rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that heterosexuals do. It is appalling to be treated as a second-class citizen and I hope this will soon be a thing of the past.

  2. David Crumm says

    As a journalist, what amazes me are the sheer numbers of public figures coming forward out of business and industry to chime in on this issue. Aside from any moral or religious judgments, the division between which couples can and can’t get their households formally recognized is poor public policy.

    Just a few years ago, there was only 1 Fortune 500 CEO in public media calling for a change to open marriage restrictions. Now, it’s in the 100s. The shift is striking to see, as a journalist. I can’t recall a major public shift on an issue with moral-religious connections in such a short period of years.

  3. tdk says

    For centuries, the definition of marriage has been defined as the union between one man and one woman. I have not changed my mind. I understand that others are entitled to their beliefs but so, too, am I.

  4. bhile says

    It doesn’t surprise me that the main reason people start supporting gay marriage is knowing someone who is LGBT. That way, the issue is not so easily written off. When it’s someone you love you have to realize that they are people just like you. It’s no longer “those people.” It’s “my son,” “my daughter,” etc.
    I am a proud supporter of marriage equality.

  5. history says

    tdk, that’s not exactly accurate. Marriage is very old, perhaps as old as 4000 years. Marriage was only explicitly performed by the church since the 16th century. Before that, marriage between two people of the same sex already happened. There have been Roman emperors married to a man. In 342 AD, the Romans changed the law to disallow same sex marriage. Later until the 13th century, gay marriage was common in southern Europe.

    Marriage under the law, which is what this issue is about (same sex marriage is not about religious marriage), has changed in recent times as well. For example, until 1967, marriage in large parts of the US was defined as being between two people of the same race. The primary reason why same sex marriage is important is because marriage confers certain rights, like tax advantages and the right to visit your partner in the hospital.

    Marriage in the bible has many meanings, for example marriage between one man and several women and involuntary marriage.

      • davefossil says

        You didn’t read the e-mail that started this feed? A lot of OurValues readers get the Monday-morning newsletter from Wayne Baker that kicks off the week’s series. In that newsletter on Monday, Wayne Baker did use that phrase — so, for those regular readers who start from the newsletter each week, that was in our minds from the opening lines.

        Here were the first two lines of the newsletter text on Monday:
        “What are your views of the sacred institution of marriage?
        Do you support or oppose same-sex marriage?”

  6. Davefossil says

    First there is clear bias in how this issue was raised! “Sacred institution of marriage?” was the leadoff. First it isn’t sacred but a secular institution governed by the STATE and represents a contract and is covered by contract law. This to put the burden of the resulting children onto parents and not on the public or state. Second it controls property distribution in the event of ending the contract voluntarily (divorce) or in death. The Bible discusses JEWISH religious law about marriage, not english common law. This is so overrun with various rules and regulations and opinions the whole effort to simplify it by stating the marriage is between a man and a woman is ridiculous and doomed to failure. These are and should be CONTRACTS between individuals and the State governing property and the welfare of children,natural or adopted. The various churches involved are completely superfluous.

  7. tfr says

    My opinion has not changed. Since this first became an issue, I have not understood why same sex marriage is not perfectly acceptable to others. I support the right of others to marry whom they choose (consenting adults, that is).