For the first time in Carmel High School, a same-sex couple was not only able to run for the category of “Cutest Couple,” but won the title. A yearbook photograph of the two male students named cutest couple received national attention after a classmate posted it on her blog.
This milestone represents a greater shift in attitude amongst millennials — those born since 1980 and aged 18-32 — regarding gay rights. Millennials are said to be “more than twice as likely to support same-sex marriage” as other generations, according to a Pew Research Center poll.
The new survey finds 70% of millenials in favor of same-sex marriage, which is far higher than the support among older generations. And since millennials make up a larger share of the adult population today, the overall trend has also changed, with a 49% majority supporting gay marriage, as opposed to 33% of the population in 2003. In 2003, millennials made up just 9% of the adult population. Today, 27% of adults are in the millennial generation.
In contrast, 49% of Generation X (adults born between 1965 and 1980) support same-sex marriage, and only 38 percent of Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) are in favor of gay marriage, according to Pew.
Furthermore, 14% of all Americans say they have changed their minds on this issue in favor of gay marriage. Roughly a third say that their opinions have changed because they personally know someone who is gay. Eighteen percent also state that they reconsidered their stance because they feel that the world has changed and that this shift is now inevitable.
It’s great that people are finally starting to accept homosexuality. The cultural landscape in the U.S. has become more liberal, diverse, and tolerant, and fewer people see homosexuality as a form of bestiality. While hate crimes and discrimination against gays still prevails, the general attitude is a lot more tolerant, and millennials have a lot to do with it.
Attitudes regarding same-sex marriage have also changed across religious groups. While evangelicals overwhelmingly feel that gay marriage goes against their religious beliefs, Protestants are more likely to approve of it. I’ve noticed that most of the secular, liberal Muslims that I know have also started to accept gay rights and same-sex marriage. Of course, these Muslims don’t represent the majority of Muslims, but they do suggest that younger generations are more likely to be more accepting of such issues.
And they should be. While religious people can choose to follow whatever beliefs they want, they have no right to impose these beliefs on the rest of the population. The quote, “Complaining that someone else's marriage is against your religion is like being angry with someone for eating a donut because you're on a diet,” sums it up perfectly.
The shifting attitudes and growing support for gay rights, driven in large part by the millennial generation, makes total equality a definite possibility in the near future.