American Attitudes About Gay Marriage Continue To Shift

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A couple of data points this weekend indicating that opposition to gay marriage will, for Republicans, continue to become a political loser.

First, a CBS poll shows 51% support among Americans for gay marriage, but more interesting than the slim majority of support overall is the fact that younger Americans support gay marriage overwhelmingly.

The American public’s views on allowing same-sex couples to marry are the same as they were in September, but support for same-sex marriage has risen since the spring and summer of this year.

There is a generational divide on this issue. Young Americans (those ages 18-29) are some of the strongest proponents of allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry. Seventy-two percent of them support it, as do a majority –albeit a smaller one– of Americans ages 30-44. However, support for same-sex marriage drops to 44 percent among those who are age 45-64 and even further to just a third of Americans age 65 and over. In fact, 56 percent of seniors oppose permitting same-sex couples to marry.

The CBS News Poll also finds more women (53 percent) than men (48 percent) think same-sex marriage should be legal.

These younger voters are going to become older voters, and their views on gay marriage aren’t likely to shift much. Opposition to gay marriage is likely to die out as older generations die out. It’s time for Republicans to embrace the future, especially when supporting gay marriage (or, at least, leaving marriage to be an issue for families and churches and other private social institutions) goes hand-in-hand with the limited government philosophy.

It’s one thing to believe homosexuality is immoral. It’s quite another to support imposing that moral view through government policy.

Meanwhile, this weekend America’s most prestigious military academy was host to its first gay marriage:

The first same-sex wedding ceremony will be held Saturday at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point’s Cadet Chapel, USA Today reported.

Two women, Brenda Sue Fulton and Penelope Dara Gnesin, will exchange vows one year after the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy banning gays from serving openly in the military came to an end.

“We will be the first same-sex couple to wed at the Cadet Chapel at West Point,” Fulton told USA Today in an email Friday night. She is a veteran and the communications director of OutServe, an organization for LGBT military personnel.

This is progress, and it’s inevitable. Republicans can either get out of the way, or let this issue continue to cost them elections.

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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