Public support for equal marriage dips in US for the first time in almost a decade

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Public support for equal marriage and other legal protections for LGBTQ+ people has fallen in the US for the first time in almost 10 years. 

Research by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), as part of its American Values Atlas, which was launched in late 2014, recorded the views of Americans on LGBTQ+ equality issues across all 50 states. 

Based on interviews with more than 22,000 adults throughout 2023, the survey found a dip in support for LGBTQ+ rights across three categories in the past year: non-discrimination protections, religiously-based service refusals and same-sex marriage. 

Overall support to protect LGBTQ+ people from discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodation dropped from 80 per cent in 2022 to 76 per cent last year, the figures revealed.

While attitudes among Democrats remained steady across all three measures, Republican opposition to LGBTQ+ rights grew. 

Opposition to services being allowed to refuse service on religious grounds dropped from 65 per cent in 2022 to 60 per cent in 2023. Among Republicans, that opposition declined to its lowest level (34 per cent) since 2015. Meanwhile, 67 per cent of respondents supported same-sex marriage, a slight decrease from the previous year, when 69 per cent agreed. 

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Across all 50 states, support for Christian nationalism negatively correlated with support for LGBTQ+ rights. 

Melissa Deckman, PRRI’s chief executive, said: “Our survey shows that support for LGBTQ rights has dipped slightly from 2022 to 2023, although the vast majority of Americans continue to endorse anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ Americans and the rights of same-sex couples to marry. 

“The growing partisan divide on these issues show the effect of the continuous use of LGBTQ identity and LGBTQ rights as a wedge issue in our nation’s culture wars.”

The American Civil Liberties Union tracked more than 500 anti-LGBTQ+ bills being passed last year.