Older Americans: Are their attitudes changing?

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series Older Americans
Can "old dogs" learn new tricks? Wikipedia organizes public workshops about the online encyclopedia. You know who likes to learn about Wikipedia? This photo shows one of the public workshops at a library.

CAN “OLD DOGS” LEARN NEW TRICKS? The Wikipedia staff occasionally organizes public workshops. You know who loves to learn about Wikipedia? This photo shows a public Wikipedia workshop at a library.

Can a leopard change its spots? Can an old dog learn new tricks? Can older adults change their minds about controversial moral issues? You might be surprised!

A majority of Americans now say that gay or lesbian relations are morally acceptable, and support for these relations has never been higher. For example, the Pew Research Center reports that, for the first time, a majority of Americans now support same-sex marriage.

Young adults show the highest level of support for gay and lesbian relations, and their support has grown over time. According to new Gallup poll results, three-quarters (74%) of Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 say that these relations are morally acceptable. Over the past 12 years, support has increased by 22 points for this age category.

But the big news is this: For the first time, a majority of older Americans now agree with their young compatriots. Fifty-one percent of Americans 55 years of age and older now say that gay or lesbian relations are morally acceptable. And, their support has grown the fastest of any age category. Since 2001, acceptance of gay or lesbian relations by Americans 55+ has increased by 25 points.

And, as we’ll see this week, this isn’t the only moral issue where older Americans are changing their attitudes.

Just for the record, the age-old saying that you can’t teach old dogs (canis lupis familiaris) new tricks is a myth. Myth Busters busted it (see the episode here).

Are you surprised to learn that older Americans are changing their minds about gay and lesbian relations?

Have you changed your mind?

Please leave a comment below:

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Comments: (6)
Categories: Equal Opportunities


  1. K Macdonald says:

    My father is 96 and lives in a retirement center. Over the past 40 years I have see his attitudes shift considerably on the question of GLBTQ concerns. This shift began with the recognition that the son of a couple who was in their wedding party was gay. It grew as he came to recognize that there were many others like their son in the world around him. He now openingly sympathizes with the deaths of partners (same sex or otherwise) among his peers at the center. Age is the ultimate leveler.

  2. Yes, I am surprised to hear that older Americans are changing their minds about gay and lesbian relations. However, I shouldn’t be. Our nation has strayed from its original beliefs in many areas and, unfortunately, this is another one. The definition of marriage is the union of one man and one woman. If we change that, than what is to say that two women and one man are a “marriage” or a group of people are “married.” One may think that that is just silly but it wasn’t tool long ago that our country had a Defense of Marriage Act — marriage as it was originally intended.

    As you can tell, I have not changed my mind.

  3. Davefossil says:

    I never had much tolerance for the Anti-gay group who are generalized bigots in my experience. I have worked with Gay men & women all my life and although I never participated in their lifestyle, I find them uniformly nice folks. I saw many die during the early HIV epidemic before we developed the “cocktails” that suppressed the virus. No one chooses such a lifestyle with such a gruesome death associated with it and were they different they would be so. They are born with this preference and they don’t live in a time where it is accepted even yet. Live & let live! I never met a gay person who claimed to be “turned” by anyone else. I have said before that Marriage is a social contract given by the State to protect any children of the union. God and Churches never had anything to do with it!

  4. I’m happy to hear attitudes are changing. I also find it interesting that arguments on why LGBT marriages are wrong are virtually identical to the arguments against interracial marriage decades ago.

  5. I shouldn’t be surprised that attitudes are changing for the older generation, but I am.”Old dogs learning new tricks,” is hardly the way I consider this. The Bible is not a changing document and there are some absolutes in their that shouldn’t be changes. We have strayed away from God and they more we do the less the absolutes are known and understood. A marriage is between a man and a woman and that’s what God intended. To move in another direction is against God. Learning “new tricks” is great when it comes to Science and Technology, but not in human behavior. We all make mistakes and God will forgive us but we can’t rewrite the book…. As you can see, I haven’t changed my mind either.

    • Bible has been edited a thousand times before. Infact, it is an edited version of old testament. Bible belongs in the thrash bin, sorry.