Public support for same-sex marriage has increased in all 50 states since 2004, especially in states that have legalized same-sex marriage, according to a report released today by researchers at the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law and Drexel University.
The report titled “Trends in public support for marriage for same-sex couples by state” shows that permitting same-sex couples to marry leads to more social acceptance of same-sex marriage, not backlash against it.
Even in states that ban same-sex marriage, public support is growing, the report shows. In Alabama, the state with the lowest support for same-sex marriage, support more than doubled between 2004 and estimates for 2016.
“There have been some assertions that attitudes in states like Alabama have not changed when it comes to marriage equality,” said report co-author Andrew Flores, public opinion and policy fellow at the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law. The Williams Institute is a national think tank dedicated to conducting rigorous, independent research on sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy. “Actually, as time goes on, those states will be the states where we should expect to see even more change.”
If the trend continues, public support for same-sex marriage will be at 40 percent or higher in every state by 2016, according to the report by Flores and Scott Barclay, professor of history and politics at Drexel University.
Key findings from the report include:
- Since 2004, public support in every state has increased on average 2.6 percent. Since 2012, it has risen 6.2 percent every year.
- By 2014, 36 states and the District of Columbia are estimated to have support at or above 50 percent. By 2016, two more states are estimated to join that group.
- In 2014, Vermont was the state with the highest level of public support at 75 percent, and Alabama had the lowest at 35 percent. The District of Columbia had 86 percent support.
To arrive at these estimates, the researchers aggregated data from multiple national surveys on public opinion into one “megapoll” by year. Using those results, the researchers used a regression model to estimate how characteristics such as age, sex, race, education and geography correlated with opinions on same-sex marriage. To project levels of support in 2016, the researchers ran a statistical analysis on each state to estimate the change over time.