A new report by the Pew Research Center has found that Americans accept gay families more than single-mother households. The study surveyed 2,691 people, who fell into three opinion groups: Acceptors, those who were comfortable with all family situations, Rejectors, those who considered non-traditional families damaging to the nation, and Skeptics, those with mixed views.
Although 99 percent of Acceptors were comfortable with single-mom homes, 99 percent of Skeptics and 98 percent of Rejectors believed that they were harmful to our nation. On the flip side, a majority of Acceptors and Skeptics accepted gay families and even believed that they would benefit society.
Although single-mom families have been around longer than gay and lesbian families, researches were not surprised by the results. According to Katherine Stamps Mitchell, an assistant professor of human ecology and sociology at Louisiana State University, gays and lesbians are perceived as a better alternative because they are a two-parent household.
Stamps Mitchell said that the results only prove American’s misconception about single-mom homes. The survey did not include single dads or the reasons behind single motherhood, which can range from personal choice to widowhood.
According to a recent Gallup poll, 52 percent of Americans accept gay relationships, and a recent Pew Research Center study that there is an equal percentage of people who accept gay marriage and those who oppose.
According to Stamps Mitchell, one of the reasons for change is because of the media.
You’re seeing gay families more and more on TV in shows like Modern Family and in movies like The Kids Are All Right. The media does help with acceptance.
It’s hard to say for sure if this is the case. There have been a slew of strong, single moms on TV and in movies such as TV’s Murphy Brown and Julia Roberts’ Erin Brockovich, but they seem to be overshadowed by today’s negative portrayals—think MTV’s Teen Mom. (Although this could just be a result of our collective short-term memory loss.)
But gay marriage still has a long way to go. Despite Obama’s recent statements that he can no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act, the struggle in the LGBT community still continues. Today more than 100 people filed into the Indiana Senate chamber to consider a state constitutional ban on gay marriages and civil unions. And House Speaker John Boehner has come out and said that the House will defend the federal ban on gay marriages.
Americans may have come to accept gay families, but their legal fight is far from over.