Support for same-sex relationships in the U.S. declined this year, according to polling by Gallup. While support for LGBTQ+ relationships remains significantly higher than a decade ago, that’s a shift in sentiment in a new direction after years of public opinion gradually moving toward tolerance for those in same-sex relationships.
Pollsters with Gallup found 64 percent of individuals surveyed find gay and lesbian relations to be “morally acceptable.” Just a year ago, the poll found 71 percent. The 7-percentage-point decline marked one of the sharpest shifts in public opinion recorded this year. That’s a larger one-year shift than recorded by Gallup at any time since the start of the 21st century.
The change comes at the same time moral support appears on the decline for gender transitioning. The survey found 55 percent of Americans believed changing one’s gender to be morally wrong, compared to 51 percent who held that view in 2021.
The pollster also reports more individuals to believe participation in sports should be dictated only by gender assigned at birth instead of individual gender identity.
A look at the numbers shows shifts away from LGBTQ+ acceptance appear driven by a shift among Republicans.
This year has seen hundreds of bills introduced in legislatures controlled by the GOP across the U.S. From drag bans to restrictions on gender-affirming care, LGBTQ+ rights have become a target of many conservative lawmakers. The poll numbers come ahead of the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, in which a concurring opinion by Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that decisions that ruled in favor of marriage equality and same-sex sexual relations should be reexamined.
About 56 percent of Republicans found same-sex relationships morally acceptable in 2022, but this year just 41 percent said the same. That's a 15-point drop. By comparison, support among Democrats dropped from 85 percent last year to 79 percent this year, and support among self-described independents went up, from 72 percent to 73 percent.
Support overall for same-sex relationships has fluctuated year to year, peaking in 2022 at 71 percent. Support sat at 59 percent in 2013. In 2002, support was at a low point this century at 38 percent.
Of note, public opinion on most relationships and sexual activity also saw more declines, though all more slight than the drop in support for same-sex relations.
Support for the use of birth control dropped from 92 percent last year to 88 percent this year. Acceptance of divorce declined from 81 percent to 78 percent. Moral support for sex between an unwed man and an unwed woman fell from 76 percent to 72 percent. Tolerance of teen sex dropped from 46 percent to 43 percent, and acceptance of pornography fell from 41 percent to 39 percent.
Meanwhile, support for abortion remained the same year-over-year, at 52 percent. Support for polygamy remains low, at 23 percent.
But moral acceptance of men and women having extramarital affairs rose slightly, from 9 percent in 2022 to 12 percent this year.