How the millennial generation is transforming the politics of gay and lesbian issues

Over a week ago, Rick Perry added his name to the National Sue Ogrocki AP Republican presidential candidate, Texas Gov. … Continued

Over a week ago, Rick Perry added his name to the National

Sue Ogrocki

AP

Republican presidential candidate, Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks at the Tulsa Press Club in Tulsa, Okla., Monday, Aug. 29, 2011.

Organization for Marriage’s pledge to support a federal marriage amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman, bringing the number of GOP presidential candidates who have signed on to the pledge to four. Although Perry’s previous declaration that states should have the ultimate say on the issue of same-sex marriage has netted him some accusations of hypocrisy, the move to declare his backing for a constitutional amendment may seem unavoidable if Perry is to compete for evangelical Protestant and tea party votes, two groups that are strongly opposed to same-sex marriage. (Perry has also had to do some fancy footwork on his position on evolution, which I wrote about recently here.)

New data from the Public Religion Research Institute shows, however, that this Republican campaign dynamic-opposition to same-sex marriage as a litmus test of conservative authenticity-has waning appeal to younger Republicans now, and promises to lose steam in years to come. Our new poll, “Millennials, Religion and Gay & Lesbian Issues,” released on August 29, shows a 20-point generation gap between millennials (age 18 to 29) and seniors (age 65 and up) on a whole range of gay and lesbian issues.

On the more contested issues of same-sex marriage and adoption of children by gay and lesbian couples, millennials are approximately twice as likely as seniors to support them. While only about 1-in-3 seniors support same-sex marriage (31 percent) or adoption by gay and lesbian issues (36 percent), more than 6-in-10 millennials support both issues, with 62 percent favoring gay and lesbian marriage, and 69 percent in support of gay adoption.

These findings are arresting, not only for what they say about the future of these issues in political debates in the general public, because this generation gap persists even among conservative political and religious groups. Public support for allowing same-sex marriage has seen double-digit increases over the past five years, a dramatic shift in public opinion that appears to be carrying along millennial Republicans with it. Just under half of younger Republicans (49 percent of Republican millennials and 44 percent of Republicans ages 30-44) favor allowing gay and lesbian people to marry, compared to only 19 percent of Republican seniors and less than one-third (31 percent) of all Republicans.*

The survey also uncovered another shifting dynamic that will increasingly alter the political calculus and campaign strategy. Politicians have long assumed that the battle lines over same-sex marriage are drawn between secular Americans who support it and religious Americans who oppose it. But millennials are also transforming the religious landscape, and there are now major religious groups on both sides of these debates. Majorities of non-Christian religiously affiliated Americans (67 percent), Catholics (52 percent), and white mainline Protestants (51 percent) favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry. On the other hand, 6-in-10 (60 percent) African American Protestants and approximately three-quarters (76 percent) of white evangelical Protestants oppose allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry.

Cultural transformations are always difficult to discern on their leading edge, and there is always the possibility that unforeseen future events may alter event strong trends. But it is notable, for example, that 2011 is the first year that supporting same-sex marriage is not a minority position. The growing support for gay and lesbian rights, driven in large part by the millennial generation, makes it likely that we will look back on 2011 as the year marking a sea change in views on gay and lesbian issues that will change politics on both sides of the aisle.

*The analysis of millennial Republicans is based on less than 100 cases (N=85). Some caution should be exercised in interpreting these results. To read the full report, topline results, questionnaire and methodology for the Millennials, Religion, and Gay & Lesbian Issues Survey, click here.

Robert P. Jones
Written by
  • david6

    Republicans have made pandering to bigots their central platform since they offered us the Southern Strategy. I don’t think for one second that Perry cares about religion at all, just about being elected.

  • JUSTACOMMENT

    The long term viability of the religion has been clinging on the indoctrination at early age. It seem this is not working that well. Younger guys and gals in the millennial age group are not paying much attention to fanatic religious leaders. It sounds like a reverse-miracle. If sharia law and leviticus were been used in our country, parents should be stoning their children.

  • ChristopherWChase

    “While only about 1-in-3 seniors support same-sex marriage (31 percent) or adoption by gay and lesbian issues (36 percent), more than 6-in-10 millennials support both issues”

    I think the author meant gay and lesbian couples. “Issues” don’t adopt children.

  • ChristopherWChase

    “While only about 1-in-3 seniors support same-sex marriage (31 percent) or adoption by gay and lesbian issues (36 percent),”

    I think the author meant “gay and lesbian couples.” “Issues” don’t adopt children at all.

  • kudeh

    Well Jesus did tell us – A child shall lead the way – So it should come as no surprise that the youth are the ones who are progressive in their approach to LGBT Rights.

  • wgscribe

    There are many points of contention that polarize both sides in this issue, but, in my opinion, they all boil down to two….

    Is God’s Word true and does it have any bearing on the laws of the land?

    As a Christian, I believe the scriptures are from God and are very specific in what jives with the total theme of the Old and New Testaments, but I also believe they have no place in dictating morality (for none of us has any). They weren’t made for that and slants their effectiveness.

    The scriptures have this message: God made us – He loves us – He gave us rules and we could not keep them – He sent His son to die for us and if we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, He will write His rules on our hearts. In this respect, the effectiveness of God’s work is revealed in the billions who have found freedom in Christ. They found it one on one in the comfort of their own hearts.

    Why on earth would I need to write these heart rules anywhere else? And knowing this, why would anyone accept it if I tried? Freedom to choose is a God given right, and we work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. The rights of Americans should be no less heaven sent.

  • AgapeWord

    God made man and woman and told them to be fruitful and multiply. Ok. The God who made heaven and earth said this, no argument. It’s proven over and over again that people that do not listen to the Creator’s Words in the Bible will suffer the consequences. He loves us and when people choose to disobey they will suffer from diseases, we all know that. Romans 1:21 says, “Because when they knew and recongnized Him as God, they did not honor and glorify Him as God or give Him thanks.” In verse 24 it states, “Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their own hearts to sexual impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves (abandoning them to the degrading power of sin.)”
    This I know, sin will distance you from God. Homosexuality is a sin. Don’t go there. Seek forgiveness if you’ve been in this lifestyle and turn to the Lord with all your heart.

  • YEAL9

    o
    “Abrahamics” (like Perry, Palin et al) believe that their god created all of us and of course that includes the gay members of the human race. Also, those who have studied homosexuality have determined that there is no choice involved therefore gays are gay because god made them that way.

    To wit:
    o The Royal College of Psy-chiatrists stated in 2007:

    “ Despite almost a century of psy-choanalytic and psychological speculation, there is no substantive evidence to support the suggestion that the nature of parenting or early childhood experiences play any role in the formation of a person’s fundamental heterosexual or homosexual orientation. It would appear that sexual orientation is biological in nature, determined by a complex interplay of genetic factors and the early uterine environment. Sexual orientation is therefore not a choice.[60] ”

    “Garcia-Falgueras and Swaab state in the abstract of their 2010 study, “The fe-tal brain develops during the intrauterine period in the male direction through a direct action of tes-tosterone on the developing nerve cells, or in the female direction through the absence of this hor-mone surge. In this way, our gender identi-ty (the conviction of belonging to the male or female gender) and sexual orientation are programmed or organized into our brain structures when we are still in the womb. There is no indication that social environment after birth has an effect on gender identity or sexual orientation.”[8

    Of course, those gays who belong to Abrahamic religions abide by the rules of no adultery or fornication allowed.

    And because of basic biology differences said monogamous ventures should always be called same-sex unions not same-sex marriages i.e.

    from below, on top, backwards, forwards, from this side of the Moon and from the other side too, gay sexual activity is still mutual masturbation caused by one or more complex sexual defects. Some defects are visually obvious in for example the complex maleness of DeGeneres, Billy Jean King an

  • david6

    There’s not a shred of evidence that God said any such thing about being fruitful. There’s clear evidence that the creation story is completely inaccurate, that it’s a just-so story invented by people who were ignorant of science, of reality.

    I don’t trust your interpretation of the Bible. It reminds me of the slave-owners who justified chattel slavery with Bible verses. People have been using the Bible to excuse bigotry and persecution for centuries.

  • Sajanas

    Why do you need to let the Bible off the hook? Lets look at Leviticus, which is the big verse on the subject.

    Lev 20:13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

    Admittedly, I’m not reading this in Hebrew, but there is no mention of loving relationships being exempt. Even if that was the traditional understanding (and really, stoning people for prostitution, idolatry, or religious sex is also wrong too), the words on the page are pretty clear. What is called for is not putting some layer of re-interpretation on these words, because you simply cannot redefine a clear sentence and expect it to stick. Instead its time to simply reject all of the Biblical rules that are cruel, heartless, and immoral, and recognize that its okay to do so because the Bible is not a timeless document, but rather rooted in a particular time (which your explanations acknowledge too), which was a much more brutal and barbaric place.

  • Sajanas

    I’d say that evolution completely contradicts the notion that we were specifically made by someone or something, and that we had some sort of fall. There was no point were we were suddenly ‘raised up’, but rather a spectrum, and there was never a original couple or Garden.
    And really, is it our fault if God tells us what to do through a self contradictory book that is thousands of years old and not really distinguishable from any other holy book? Particularly one that has been poorly preserved and translated? When he could just write the rules in bright golden letters in front of our faces so we know exactly what it wants us to do?

  • david6

    The problem here is that we have supposed Christians who are cherry-picking which Hebraic laws they want to follow and which they want to ignore. We don’t execute people for adultery, even though Leviticus demands it. We don’t remember the Sabbath.

    The next chapter shows us that God discriminates against the handicapped. The laws that are claimed to be from God are neither just nor necessary. We need to ignore all of them.

  • Sajanas

    Its funny, my parents pull the whole ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’ argument, but deep down, they both *hate* gays. Enough that they seem afraid of any gay men being child molesters, and enough that they’d leave their church of nearly 20 years rather than see it put some slightly gay friendly rules in place. Yet, at the same time, they never really communicated this to me, I think because they were so deeply uncomfortable talking about sex that they never even mentioned sex to me at all. It was clear to me at an early age that they were only ever interested in confirming their own beliefs, not actually learning about other people, or empathizing with them.

  • AgapeWord

    David,
    Yes, I use to think like you, but I had an experience that took away every doubt and opened my eyes to the Truth. I pray you do too. Now that I know there is a God of love and judgement, my life has changed. The God of the universe cares for me and for you. If you don’t believe in heaven and hell….you will someday and I hope you don’t wait too late. I want to see heaven populated and heaven plundered because eternity is a long time! The Bible was written by men, led by the Spirit of God. It’s a Book of inspiration that helps us live a life that pleases God and It’s used to warn people to turn from their sins because He loves them and wants to see them in heaven. We all are living to please Him and when we fail, we can repent and change (with the Holy Spirits help). Jesus made the way. I’m so glad! I once was a sinner…if I had died before I made Jesus Lord of my life I would have gone to hell. But one day God intervened in my life and I’ll never be the same! He took my cold, hard heart and transformed it into a heart of love and meaning. God does want the best for people. He’s a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him! I’ve witnessed countless miracles of healing and that’s only because Jesus made the way. That’s love, not bigotry. If someone is truly walking as Jesus walked they will want to see people set free from the bondages of sin. They will also, at times, warn people of their sins. That’s love, not bigotry. It’s all about love. God loves people so much He sent His Son to die so that whoever believes in Him will not perish in hell but will have everlasting life with Him in heaven. Jesus saves!

  • AgapeWord

    David, I meant to say, Heaven populated and hell plundered!

  • Sajanas

    @AgapeWord

    I still find it disgusting that people worship a God that created people sick and then commands them to be well, while threatening eternal punishment if they fail. Homosexuality just isn’t wrong. It hurts no one, and its a way for people to find loving relationships that aren’t any different from heterosexual ones. If the verses in the OT hadn’t been in place, you’d not see those verses from Romans as anything other than what they were meant to be, an apocalyptic preacher’s exhortation for *everyone* to lead lives of chastity.

    On, and if you’ve witnessed real miracles of healing, how about having them replicated in an actual hospital, rather than in a church. I’d also advise you to rent the move Marjoe… those faith healers are frauds, and the ‘healing’ that they show off is no different than the sort of techniques that John Edwards uses to convince people he talks to ghost, namely cold reading, getting information prior to your shows, putting people who can walk in wheel chairs, and straight up planting phonies.

  • AgapeWord

    Sajanas, There have been some times where people have tried to fool others into thinking there was a miracle take place but I’ve witnessed with my eyes many miracles! There are wolves in sheeps clothing sometimes.
    Darren Wilson, (once a major skeptic until miracles happened in his uncle and aunt at the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship) went around the world seeking out the places God was doing miracles and making differences. The video, “The Finger of God” has documented them. Also he made a video called, “Furious Love” showing demonized people being set free by the power of God. I do hear of many miracles in hospitals and in people’s homes and on the streets! I prayed for a lady last week that was healed at the airport. They were about to call the paramedics but after prayer she said the dizziness was gone and she was alright. Praise to God! The greatest miracle happens when a person asks Jesus to come into their hearts to be their Savior! His love can penetrate the darkest hearts and set them free. Wonderful Lord! Wonderful Savior!

  • Sajanas

    Yeah, I’m sorry, but someone feeling less dizzy doesn’t really figure into a ‘miracle’ to me. That is, at best, coincidence. There are probably dozens of people that you pray for that don’t get better, but you latch on to the one instance where someone does get better. And really, how often have your miracles effected actual, verifiable medical conditions, in particular, ones that cannot be healed on their own, like, say, regrowing an arm. That’d be a pretty nice miracle, yet most of the time its people feeling better, having pain relief, cancer not killing them as quickly, all while they’re getting actual medical care too.

  • Carstonio

    Ultimately the question of the legality of same-sex marriage is a secular matter and not a religious one. If any organized religion opposes it or permits it, this should apply only to the members of that religion. It’s not up to any religion to decide for government which couples can or can’t be legally married.

  • AgapeWord

    I use to be an unbeliever too. Not since I received a major healing. Have a nice day!

  • wgscribe

    You see what you can see. It’s not your fault and you can’t be blamed for the failure of your parents, but wallowing in your bitterness and attacking people who see is like a blind man flailing his cane in a crowded room, shouting… “You don’t know what you are talking about! The door is over here!!!” Your parents are off the hook for that.

    Evolution is a proven process, but how did it begin? You have much faith if your entire thought process has come to the conclusion that from the vastness of all the galaxies down to the intricacies of the atom, it all just (poof, bang, plop) happened. And it happened so that you could now sit here and debate the existence of something you know nothing about. If that’s the case, then Evolution seems to have a piece missing – but I suspect you have it hidden somewhere.

    If bright golden letters is what you need than you missed the whole message of the book. You need a touch and that’s exactly what I pray will happen for you. Blessings!

  • AgapeWord

    This country was founded by men who loved God and Jesus Christ and believed God’s Words are infallible. They prayed for the favor of God upon this nation… favor will only come when we honor Him and His Word. His commandments state to have no other gods before Him….if we’re wise we will follow that rule. Homosexuality is a sin. Romans 1:24 states, “So God let them go ahead into every sort of sex sin, and do whatever they wanted to –yes, vile and sinful things with each other’s bodies. Instead of believing what they knew was the truth about God, they deliberately chose to believe lies. ….verses 26, 27….That is why God let go of them and let them do all these evil things, so that even their women turned against God’s natural plan for them and indulged in sex sin with each other. And the men, instead of having a normal sex relationship with women, burned with lust for each other, men doing shameful things with other men and, as a result, gitting paid within their own souls with the penalty they so richly deserved.” Very sobering words we need to acknowledge. God will not be mocked. Jesus made a way to escape the power of satan in each person’s life. Jesus came to this earth to do the will of the Father. Call upon His name with a repentive heart…He is merciful.

  • lepidopteryx

    “Be fruitful and multiply?” Neither my husband nor I were capable of multiplying together the day we met. He had been sterile for years due to radiation treatment for cancer long before we met, and I was in the early stages of menopause. Should we not have been allowed to marry? Should we both have simply abstained from all sexual pleasure once we reached the point of no longer being able to reproduce?
    We didn’t marry in order to multiply. We married because we were in love. Period. End of sentence.
    We wanted to solemnize our commitment to each other in the presence of our friends, our family, and our gods, so we held a religious ritual in which we wed ourselves to each other. We wanted to offer each other legal protection if something catastrophic happened to one of us, so we went to the courthouse, bought a marriage license, and had a judge sign it. No one at the courthouse asked about our fertility status, or why we wanted to get married. All they asked for was picture ID and exact cash.

  • Sajanas

    I’m not really trying to be rude here, but you need to step back and actually look at what happened to you critically. What exactly was ‘healed’? Were you receiving medical care at the time too, or just had a condition that is often misdiagnosed or prone to spontaneous recovery? How likely is it that the timing of the ‘healing’ and your recovery just happened to coincide? People win the lottery and thank Jesus, but what about all the other people that lost their $1?

    I think, even more to the point though, what exactly is special about you, that God should heal you, but only after a particular faith healer does something? And why should God intervene when you ask? If God is there, and good, why would he have to wait for some other human to ask, rather than just dishing out miracles when they’re needed? And if they’re that easy to get, why is there still so much suffering in the world? You’re operating from a pretty narrow, selective view of life, designed to make you feel protected and cared for, but no matter how comforting, your prayer isn’t stopping people from dying, because, quite simply, wishing for things does not make them happen.

  • Sajanas

    Its not a matter of bitterness at all. What makes you think I’m some bitter, angry person typing here? Its more that I see so many people making life choices completely and deliberately uninformed about the state of the larger world by competing, contradictory organizations that take huge amounts of your money and time and give what, exactly? The notion of who is ‘blind’ is entirely in the eye of the beholder here. Plus, arguing is fun… that’s kind of the point of comments.

    But anyways, the vastness of both time and space just impresses on me how unlikely it is that our little chunk of the universe is the most important part of it. We can see it, but its not there to help or hinder us… its not like all those distant galaxies are sending us help, they just are. Likewise, when you look at life’s history, do you see a single hint of design in it? In the constant, endless waste of it all, the trillions of organisms dying over billions of years? I think its wonderful that we get to live and see everything, with the intelligence to understand it, but I don’t think we’re going to further our understanding by trying to get every last drop out of some old book, be it the Bible, Koran, or whatever else.

  • Sajanas

    No, this country was founded by people who saw Europe bleeding itself over religious conflict, and who had the wisdom instead to pick no formal religion at all.

  • AgapeWord

    We’ve studied our ancestorial roots and I know why they came. To worship God in freedom. They risked their lives so my family and I can know the Living God who sets us free.

  • AgapeWord

    lepidopteryx,
    I brought up the words, “be fruitful and multiply” because of the article written. Men with men and women with women….that won’t happen.
    So glad you and your husband have a good, loving marriage. We need a trillion more in this world.

  • AgapeWord

    I truly can’t tell you why the miracles in my life have happened. I know that a shift came in my thinking about God when we found out how our ancestors came to this country….to worship God. I was living a pretty selfish life at the time and it made me think about what I was doing with my life to give God honor. I read the Bible, got rid of things in my house that did not bring Glory to God. Honestly, when I did that, a supernatural peace flooded me!!!! Little steps, here and there I took to be closer to Him.
    For years and years I’ve had trouble with my back–2 surgeries. One night I was lying in my bed, with excruciating pain with a tiny move. The thought came to my mind that it was hurting as bad as before the surgeries. Next thought I had, from my heart, was “help” It was just a silent cry…but I new something had happened. I started to roll just very lightly and there was NO PAIN!!! I got up…NO PAIN!!!
    I can not tell you why He healed me…just the story leading up to it. My sister has been healed in a prayer line at a church. I’ve seen people healed on the streets. All I know is that I am pressing in to know God more and to see more miracles. Faith pleases God. As we read His Word faith will get stronger…reading the miracles Jesus did over and over again helps too. God is not a respector of persons but He does reward those who diligently seek Him. Sajanas, this is strange too, but I know of miracles happening to people that do not believe in God. I’ve heard the testimony of people being healed in a church where they didn’t even understand the language the pastor used! So many different ways of ministry…just like Jesus. He spit into dirt and placed it on the man’s eyes— he was healed! All I can say is draw close to Him and He loves you. Psalm 91 –”We live within the shadow of the Almighty, sheltered by the God who is above all gods. This I declare, that He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God, and I am trust

  • paulhume

    As long as they look like the pictures in your playbook?

    A same sex couple in a good loving marriage does not qualify?

    Have the honesty to remove the “agape” from your handle. Love seems to have little to do with it, for you.

  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous