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The latest Pew survey
on attitudes about same-sex marriage shows a more striking shift than
indicated by the Pew Forum’s headline: “Support for Same-Sex Marriage
Edges Upward.” Yes, support edged up four percentage points over last
year, from 38 percent to 42 percent. And opposition edged down five
points, from 53 percent to 48 percent. In other words, the gap between
supporters and opponents was more than halved, shrinking from 15 points
to six. Now, for the first time, less than a majority of Americans
oppose SSM. That’s significant news.
Among regions of the country, only the South now opposes SSM, by a
full 20 points. Among religious groups, only white evangelicals and
black Protestants are significantly opposed. (Mormons doubtless are as
well, but the survey does not register them.) Democrats are in favor and
this year, in a 12-point turnaround, so are Independents (by a single
point). Republicans remain a remote outlier, though even among them
support has edged up from 19 percent to 24 percent.
All this has taken place during a period of apparent conservative
resurgence. No wonder the GOP and its Tea Party allies are keeping mum