LGBT Trends: Have you seen the great generational divide?

This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series LGBT Trends
To read the entire PEW report, click on this chart.

To read the entire PEW report, click on this chart.

In stable, traditional societies the values of the young don’t differ from the values of the old. In societies like the United States, there can be vast differences in values between the generations.

How wide are the generation divides with regards to same-sex marriage?


Back in 2003, there was a 33-point difference in opinion between the youngest adults (ages 18-33) and the oldest (68+), according to the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI). Just under half of the youngest group (45%) supported same-sex marriage, versus only 12% of the oldest group.

All age groups have become more tolerant over time, but the wide generational gap persists. PRRI reports that today 69% of Millennial Americans (ages 18–33) are in favor of same-sex marriage, while 37% of Silent Generation Americans (68+) are as well. The gap now is about the same as the gap was a decade ago.

We see vast generational differences even when we look at Republicans and white evangelical Protestants. For example, half of Millennial Republicans (50%) support same-sex marriage, while only 18% of Silent Generation Republicans feel the same way. Four of ten Millennials who are white evangelical Protestants (43%) favor same-sex marriage, compared to 19% of Silent Generation Americans.

Ken Wilson talks about the generational gap in evangelical congregations. In his newly published book “A Letter to My Congregation” he relates his journey that led to his call for inclusion. At one point, he says: “Exclusionary practices have consequences—many of the young in these congregations find them abhorrent. Abandoning the exclusionary practices has consequences—many of the long-time members find this equally abhorrent.” That, he says, is a disputable matter.

Are your views about same-sex marriage the same as your age peers?

Is the generational divide driving greater tolerance of same-sex marriage?

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