Gay marriage: Is it all about who you know? you know someone who’s gay, are you more likely to oppose or support gay marriage?

Opposition to gay marriage often stems from moral and religious concerns. But it also comes from not knowing anyone who is gay. In fact, having a friend, colleague, or family member who is homosexual doubles the likelihood of support for gay marriage, according to a recent Pew study.

Millennials are much more likely to know someone who’s gay, which is a key reason this group of young Americans supports same-sex marriage. Senior Americans who know someone who’s gay are more likely to support gay marriage, compared to their age peers who do not. But a big difference between Millennials and seniors is that few members of this older group of Americans actually know someone who’s homosexual.

Over half of Americans age 65+ said they couldn’t name a single gay person they knew personally—or even a gay celebrity. Only 19% of Americans under 50 said the same, as did only 27% of Americans between 50 and 64.

Seniors are not more likely to cite moral or religious reasons behind their opposition to gay marriage. They just don’t know gay people. Lack of familiarity breeds uncertainty, doubt, and concern.

Do you support legalized gay marriage? 

If so, is it because you know someone who’s homosexual?

If you oppose it, do you know anyone who’s gay?

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


Print Friendly, PDF & Email