Despite a surge in gay marriage wins the last 18 months, acceptance of the LGBT community, such as in the workplace or in their local communities, lags, according to a new survey released Monday by a gay rights group.
The survey, “Accelerating Acceptance,” for GLAAD found that around one-third of respondents were uncomfortable attending a same-sex wedding (34 percent), seeing a gay couple hold hands (36 percent) or learning their doctor is LGBT (31 percent). Harris Poll conducted the online survey in 2014 of 4,000 Americans who indicted they were heterosexual.
The findings were published the same day as Alabama became the 37th state to allow gays and lesbians to wed because of a federal judge’s ruling. The state had appealed the decision, with its chief justice telling judges they didn’t have to issue marriage licenses to LGBT couples, but the Supreme Court rejected the challenge.
“Closing the gap to full acceptance of LGBT people will not come from legislation or judicial decisions alone, but from a deeper understanding and empathy from Americans themselves,” said GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “Accelerating acceptance will require the help of not just LGBT people, but also their allies — everyday Americans who feel strongly and take an active role to make sure that their LGBT friends and family are fully accepted members of society.”
And the transgender community faces more even resistance to acceptance that lesbians, gays and bisexual individuals, according to the survey. Fifty-nine percent of respondents said they wouldn’t be comfortable with their child dating a transgender person; about one-third said they would be uneasy with a transgender woman or man on their sports team.
The survey was the first of its kind commissioned by GLAAD. The Supreme Court is preparing to hear four same-sex marriage cases this spring and is expected to make a final decision on the whether gay nuptials should be allowed in the summer.