Saturday, May 23, 2015

Which Age Group Resists Marriage Equality?

The latest Gallup poll in early May is certainly encouraging for the support for same-sex marriage. Sixty percent of respondents (5% higher than 2014) say they were in favor of gay marriage.

Only two decades ago, 27% approved and 68% opposed gay marriage.  By 2005, 37% supported same-sex marriage and five years later, 44% were in favor.

Over 65 Group

Yet, despite the snowballing figures reflecting an ever-increasing trend toward acceptance, particularly with the under 30 age group, the one group that is a “holdout” is the 65- and over -age group.

Why? I can only surmise that it’s because they grew up in the 40’s and 50’s, when religion and mores were sharply defined and practiced. There was a low divorce rate, loyalty to school and church, and definite adherence to what constitutes “boy”  and “girl” roles with no room for gender-variance. If their neighbors, co-workers, friends, and the movie stars they saw on the “big screen,” were gay, those who varied from cisgender behavior kept their “dirty little secrets” to themselves.

The Times They Are A Changin’

Next month, it is possible that The Supreme Court will rule that same-sex marriage has as much legitimacy as heterosexuality in the United States. Ireland, a European country that is 84% Catholic, recently passed marriage equality by popular vote (referendum), the first nation in the world to do so.  Father Gerry O’Connor of Dublin said in The New York Times, May 23, 2015, commented that “notions of the traditional nuclear family were changing.”

According to Gallup tracking in the first four months of this year, 3.8 % of the adult population identify themselves as LGBT.  Those 3.8% may be a grandson or niece of a straight 65 year-old or a senior citizen’s friend’s relative who is being bullied in school, being denied an apartment because of sexual orientation.

Support Groups To Help Become Allies

It is not easy to change one’s views, but the modus operandi is education. To be an ally, you have to be informed about the constant changes in our ever-changing world.

Here are some organizations with resources to help educate you about the LGBT community:

http://www.umass.edu/how to be an ally.
http://www.hrc.org. The Human Resources Campaign is the largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for LGBT people.
http://www.glaad.org/Glaad is a U.S. non-governmental media monitoring organization founded by LGBT people in the media.
http://www.familyacceptanceproject@sfs.edu. has materials for those reluctant to accept LGBT equality.