The 'Pulse of Equality'

Today, GLAAD released a new survey conducted by Harris Interactive in the wake of the passage of and protests against California's Proposition 8. The survey reveals that majorities of Americans favor a broad range of policies and legal protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. Laura Light, Vice President of Public Relations Research for Harris Interactive had this to say about the results:

In the Pulse of Equality survey, we observed a positive relationship between knowing a gay or transgender person and one's attitudes toward them and the policy issues that affect their lives.  Based on other surveys we have conducted on attitudes toward LGBT people and issues, the results of this survey suggest that public sentiment in the U.S. is trending toward greater acceptance of gay- and transgender-related policy issues.

Here are the survey's key findings:

  • Three-quarters of U.S. adults (75%) favor either marriage or domestic partnerships/civil unions for gay and lesbian couples.  Only about two in 10 (22%) say gay and lesbian couples should have no legal recognition. (Gay and lesbian couples are able to marry in two states, and comprehensive civil union or domestic partnership laws exist in only five others and the District of Columbia.)
  • U.S. adults are now about evenly divided on whether they support allowing gay and lesbian couples to legally marry (47% favor to 49% oppose).
  • Almost two-thirds (64%) of U.S. adults favor allowing openly gay military personnel to serve in the armed forces. (The current "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law bans military service by openly gay personnel.)
  • About six in 10 (63%) U.S. adults favor expanding hate crime laws to cover gay and transgender people. (Hate crimes laws cover gay and transgender people in 11 states and the District of Columbia, and an additional - 20 states' laws cover sexual orientation but not gender identity.)
  • A slight majority of U.S. adults (51%) favor protecting gay and transgender people under existing laws that prohibit discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations. (Existing non-discrimination laws cover gay and transgender people in only 12 states and the District of Columbia, and eight other states' laws cover sexual orientation but not gender identity.)
  • Nearly seven out of 10 U.S. adults (69%) oppose laws that would ban qualified gay and lesbian couples from adopting children. (In several states, gay and lesbian couples are banned from adopting.)

Commenting on the survey results, GLAAD President Neil G. Giuliano had this to say:

The visibility of the past several years, and the intense conversations of the past few weeks, seem to have galvanized a majority of Americans' support of equality for gay and transgender Americans.
While this expression of support is encouraging, particularly after the setbacks we experienced on Election Day, it's not something we can rest on. There is a lot of work to be done.  We must all do what we can to sustain and expand this emerging wave of grassroots activism so that it leads to laws and policies that extend full equality under the law to all Americans – lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and straight.

Giuliano also suggested that one of the crucial issues facing LGBT people is that many Americans aren't aware of the injustices that they face:

Majorities of Americans clearly favor equality for gay and transgender people," Giuliano added, "but we've seen that too many still mistakenly believe that the intolerance and injustices we face are things of the past.  So it's more vital than ever that we tell our stories, illustrate the injustices we face, and remind people of the common ground we share.

To read all the survey results, you can click here. Sign in and leave your thoughts and comments about the survey - start a conversation!