The Public Religion Research Institute has released new poll showing that a majority of Americans support abortion rights and same-sex marriage, but the two “values” are no longer linked in voters’ minds and are not part of a larger “values” agenda:
– Roughly the same percentage of Americans said abortion should be legal in all or most cases in 1999 (57 percent) as say this today (56 percent).
– In contrast, the percentage of Americans who said marriages between same-sex couples should be recognized by the law as valid has grown 18 points over this same period, from 35 percent in 1999 to 53 percent in 2011.
The poll also reported a “dramatic difference” in how different generations of Americans viewed same-sex marriage, even though no such distinction existed on the abortion issue. Young people are much less likely to see gay behavior as morally wrong and are much more likely to support same-sex unions:
Strong majorities of Americans also “believe it is possible to disagree with the teachings of their religion on the issue of abortion (72 percent) or homosexuality (63 percent) and still be considered a person of good standing in their faith.”