A new Gallup poll just released reveals that nearly two-thirds of Americans (63%) say that bias against the gay and lesbian community is either a "very serious" or a "somewhat serious" problem.
Another 26% said it was "not too serious" with only 9% saying it was not a problem at all. The poll examined how Americans view the everyday difficulties faced by people who are gay or lesbian. Despite this discrimination, less than half of Americans said it would be "very difficult" or "somewhat difficult" for a person to live openly as gay or lesbian.
Gallup suggests this "could reflect Americans' tendency to see conditions in the United States as a whole as worse than those in the area where they live." The polling organization says "This has been apparent when Gallup has asked Americans to rate local versus national crime, education, and economic conditions." But it also could be indicative of America's changing views on equality for the greater LGBT community.
Even if people don't think it's difficult to live as openly gay or lesbian, they could still believe that incidents of bias and discrimination are a serious problem when they do occur.
As for America's future when it comes to LGBT equality, a majority of respondents said these issues will not always be as divisive as they are now. Among members of the LGBT community, this optimism was even more apparent, with more than three-quarters saying someday the country will be in agreement.
The results broke down predictably along party lines, but even here one can see the changing face of equality supporters. Nearly half of Republicans recognized discrimination against people who are gay or lesbian as either very serious or somewhat serious. And more than a third believed that equality for LGBT people will someday not be a divisive issue.
"As Americans continue this ongoing dialogue with LGBT friends, family members, co-workers and neighbors, these numbers will continue to move in the direction of equality," said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick. "The more Americans learn about the LGBT community, the more they'll continue to see that equality shouldn't be a wedge issue, or even a political issue. It's a human issue, with everyday Americans being affected."