Janelle Wong is an Associate Professor of American Studies and the Director of Asian American Studies at University of Maryland in College Park, MD. Her research focuses on race, immigration, and political mobilization. Dr. Wong is the author of Democracy’s Promise: Immigrants and American Civic Institutions (2006, University of Michigan Press) and co-author of two books on Asian American politics. She is currently working on a book about the impact Asian American and Latino evangelical Christians will have on the traditional conservative Christian movement and immigrant political participation. Recently, PRRI had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Wong in depth about some of the 2014 American Values Survey’s findings on Asian Americans.
PRRI’s latest research, the 2014 LGBT Issues and Trends Survey, shows support for same-sex marriage jumped 21 percentage points from 2003 – when Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage – to 2013. Currently, a majority (53 percent) of Americans favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to legally marry, compared to 41 percent who oppose. In 2003, less than one-third (32 percent) of Americans supported allowing gays and lesbians to legally marry, compared to nearly 6-in-10 (59 percent) who opposed. PRRI’s Graphic of the Week shows the steady change in support for same-sex marriage since 2003.
The 2013 findings are based on PRRI’s latest survey, which is one of the largest surveys ever conducted on LGBT issues. The ten-year trend tracks nearly 100 polls from PRRI surveys, as well as data from six other major polling sources (ABC/Washington Post, CNN/ORC, Fox News, Gallup, NBC/Wall Street Journal, and Pew Research Center). Notably, none of these major surveys found majority support for same-sex marriage until 2011. With the exception of Fox News, most polls found majority support for same-sex marriage throughout 2013.
That year also brought a wave of states legalizing same-sex marriage. The legalization of same-sex marriage on a state-by-state basis was less linear than the shift in public opinion; Massachusetts was the only state to legalize same-sex marriage from 2003 until 2008, at which point Connecticut became the second state to legalize same-sex marriage. After 2008, legalization of same-sex marriage increased rapidly at the state level. Between 2012 and 2013, the number of states recognizing same-sex marriage doubled again. Today, 17 states plus the District of Columbia recognize same-sex marriage.