Gay Marriage support largely generational | News
Tampa, FL -- Barack Obama made history this week becoming the first sitting President to support same sex marriage. But the President's position is no longer viewed as radical, as support for gay marriage has been on the rise for years.
For example Polling by Gallup shows 16-years ago, only 1 in 4 supported the idea of gay marriage. But each year since 1996, with few exceptions, that support has increased to the point where last year, 53 percent of Americans said they were okay with it.
Nationally, seven states and the District of Columbia already allow for same sex marriage, with several more allowing for civil unions and domestic partnerships.
Data also shows young adults are far more likely to support same sex marriage than older Americans.
Research shows 70 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 34 support gay marriage, while only 39 percent of Americans 55 and older support it.
"I think young people are a lot more accepting because they are more used to seeing it," said University of Tampa student Katie Connelly.
University of South Florida Professor of Political Science Dr. Susan MacManus says Connelly is right. She says the younger generation has been more exposed to the idea and, as a result, is more accepting.
But MacManus says there is another reason for the generational divide.
"Young people, a larger portion of them don't have strong religious ties. The older generation does, and for people who are opposed to it, there is a strong religious thread to their values," she told 10 News.
However, MacManus warns both, Obama and Republican Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, to be careful because the number one issue with voters is still the economy.
She says spending too much time on same sex marriage may turn some people off who are more worried about paying their mortgage or electric bill.