Avvo study: legal same-sex marriage has changed attitudes

Relationships, LGBT

This article was created out of a relationship study conducted by Avvo, to better understand how the law intersects with people’s lives, and the issues people face when engaging with attorneys and the legal system. Given that divorce and family law are two of the largest and most routine needs for legal help, understanding the relationship dynamics that lead to marriage, divorce, and family planning is essential for us to better serve our readers. Go here for more details on the study, and check the links at the bottom of this article to learn more about the results.

When it comes to supporting same-sex marriage, more Americans are shifting their attitudes since the June 2015 Supreme Court ruling that struck down state bans. In May of 2015, 43% of Americans believed same-sex marriage should be legal, compared to 48% today.

“The fact is that love endures. That feeling, that pursuit of happiness and desire to build a life with another person is something that stays constant even as society learns to welcome new opinions and ways to love,” according to noted sociologist and renowned sexologist Dr. Pepper Schwartz.

The past year has seen an alignment of male and female attitudes on the legalization of same sex-marriage. In 2015, women surpassed men in their support, with 47% of women supporting same-sex marriage, as compared to just 39% of men. Today, in 2016, nearly the same proportion of men and women are supporters, with 50% of women and about 47% of men in support of same-sex marriage and relationships.

Americans’ support of same-sex marriage differs slightly by political affiliation, with Democrats generally being more supportive. Since the SCOTUS ruling, more Democrats than Republicans have shifted their attitudes. Among Democrats, 58% were in support of same-sex marriage in 2015, versus 68% in 2016. This compares to 22% of Republicans in 2015 supporting same-sex marriage, and 26% of Republicans supporting same-sex marriage in 2016 (not a statistically significant shift).

Support of same-sex marriage also differed across the country, with a sharper rise in support amongst Northeasterners and Midwesterners. In the Northeast, the proportion of same-sex marriage supporters went up from 47% to 56% between 2015 and 2016. Among Midwesterners, the proportion of supporters increased from 40% to 49% between 2015 and 2016. Comparatively, in the South, 41% supported same-sex marriage in 2015 and 42% in 2016. Support of same-sex marriage in the West went up from 46% to 52% over the last year.

Overall, younger Americans continue to be among the strongest supporters of gay marriage: 58% of Americans 18-34 supported it in our poll.

“One short year after the landmark decision by the Supreme Court, people are opening up their minds to acceptance where there sometimes was judgement before,” said Schwartz. “Recognizing that love comes in all shapes, colors, and sizes is a sign of maturity for American society.”

See below for more details and insights from the survey data: