THIS WEEK, the U.S. Supreme Court this week begins hearings on one of the most fundamental human institutions: marriage.
The cases at issue involve California’s gay-marriage ban and a federal law that limits marriage to a man and a woman. This raises lots of questions for OurValues readers. And, this week, I hope you will help us show the value of this kind of column by adding your own thoughts in a civil way. Let’s get a vigorous discussion going on these questions:
Will the high court legalize same-sex marriage?
What’s your view of the institution of marriage?
Have you changed in your mind about same-sex marriage?
Many people have changed their minds—and you might be surprised to learn why!
The court is considering these landmark cases at a time when public opinion has shifted in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage. One clear reason for the shift is age. The younger you are, the more likely you support same-sex marriage. For example, 70% of the Millennial generation (born after 1980) support legalizing same-sex marriage, while only 38% of the Baby Boom generation (born 1946–1964) also support it, according to a report released this month by the Pew Research Center.
But the story isn’t all about demographics.
Many Americans have changed their minds about gay marriage. In 2003, only 51% percent of Millennials favored same-sex marriage. Even members of the Silent Generation—the cohort most opposed to same-sex marriage—have changed their minds. Now, 31% of Americans born 1928-1945 support same-sex marriage, compared to only 17% in 2003.
Why have people changed their minds? The legal arguments revolve around the issue of equal rights. But is that the reason why people changed their minds? The No. 1 reason, according to Pew, is this: knowing someone who is homosexual. Almost a third (32%) said this was why they support gay-marriage now but once opposed it.
Respect for others is the second most-cited reason, given by 25% of those who have changed their minds and are now in favor. Respect for others is one of the ten Core American values, as we’ve discussed before. People who give this reason say they have grown more open, more tolerant, and gotten older and wiser.
How about belief in equal rights? Only 8% of those who had changed their minds gave this explanation as the reason why.
What’s your opinion of same-sex marriage?
Have you changed your opinion?
If so, why?
ADD A COMMENT BELOW, PLEASE:
And, let’s show readers that we can have a vigorous, civil dialogue this week.