College Millennials: How do they handle the hot buttons? week, we’ve been discussing college-age Millennials: We’ve asked about what matters most to them; what they think of religion; whether they still envision an American Dream; and where they stand on the presidential matchup this year.
(Remember that we predicted way back in January that this unique matchup would be a major story throughout 2012.)

Today, we conclude our series on the Millennials with a look at two of the major hot buttons in our culture. What do these young Americans think of same-sex marriage and abortion?
Before you read further, take a guess at what the research tells us.

Abortion: Currently, 53% of American adults say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, while 39% say it should be illegal in all or most cases, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center.

Where do young adults stand? Fifty-four percent of college Millennials say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, while 44% say it should be illegal. These facts come from the Public Religion Research Institute’s new Millennial Values Survey—the survey we’re using all this week.

Same-sex marriage: Do the opinions of college-age Millennials also mirror the opinions of their elders? About 47% of all American adults favor legalizing same-sex marriage, according to the Pew survey. This level of support has grown over time. In 1996, for example, only 27% were in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage.

When it comes to same-sex marriage, college-age Millennials are more supportive than all American adults. Almost six of ten (59%) support its legalization. Support is exceptionally high among white mainline Protestants (62% in favor), Catholics (66%), and those who are religiously unaffiliated (81%). Women college-age Millennials are more supportive of legalized same-sex marriage than men are, but majorities of both groups are in favor.

What’s your view of the legalization of same-sex marriage?

Have you views about it changed over time?

What about abortion?


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Originally published at, an online experiment in civil dialogue on American values.

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