Sarah Posner reports on the findings of Southern Illinois University sociologist Darren Sherkat, who has compiled the General Social Survey results over the last couple of decades on public support for marriage equality. I’ll let her set it up for you:
Sherkat tells me:
There are no other scientific surveys which have asked questions about same sex marriage over a long period of time. The only other remaining scientific general population surveys are the National Election Surveys, and I don’t think they ever asked a question about that (or if they did it was only in the 2008 version). I can’t stress this enough.
In other words, the GSS is the only survey that shows these trends over time, using face-to-face surveys of respondents (as opposed to telephone polls).
And here’s what support for marriage equality looks like, from 1988 to the present day:
Sarah also addresses the notion that young Conservative Christians are becoming more tolerant. Apparently that is not the case, but it IS true that the younger generations in general are much more tolerant of LGBT equality. That can only mean one thing, and it’s something we already knew: the wingnut churches are driving their young away in droves. Anecdotally, I graduated from a small-ish private Christian school and grew up in a fairly conservative area, and I can think of very few people from that time who still attend church on a regular basis. Surely, there are some who do, but the overwhelming feeling I get is that many stay tangentially involved in church, perhaps when they’re with their extended families, but otherwise, it’s not that big of a deal in their lives. Moreover, I know others who are still very much Christian, but who shun the conservative, evangelical, fundamentalist labels like the plague. I’ve even heard the term “recovering Fundamentalist” thrown around in my age group.
I only point this out because wingnuts are likely to try to scapegoat gays and feminism and the lib’rul culture or whatever else for the fact that their young just don’t buy what they’re selling the way they used to. The fact of the matter is that they did it to themselves, when they made the decision to dig their heels in and refuse to assimilate into modern culture. It’s increasingly difficult to keep young people in churches that teach young earth creationism when the internet is full of actual science. It’s increasingly difficult to keep them hating gay people, and thus worshipping at the altar of Fundamentalism, when their college roommate is gay and they realize that their parents and pastors have been lying to them all these years.
Anyway, we’re winning, is the point. The sharp rise in support shown on the graph is evidence of the tipping point Wayne and I have talked about a lot over the past year. There just comes a certain point where there is too much correct information out there, too much education, for people to keep their fingers in their ears any longer. It will only get better.