News (USA)

Republican support for marriage equality drops as conservatives ramp up anti-trans panic

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A new Gallup poll found that support for same-sex couples having the right to marry has dropped over the past two years among Republicans, with only a minority of GOP voters supporting marriage equality now when a majority of the GOP supported it in 2022. This may be a result of the mass anti-trans and “groomer” panic over the past several years.

In 2021 and 2022, Gallup found that 55% of Republicans supported marriage equality. In 2023, the number dropped to 49%, and this year, in data that has just been released, Gallup found that only 46% of Republicans support marriage equality.

Graph showing partisan support for same-sex marriage

Support dropped from 71% among all Americans in 2022 and 2023 to 69% in 2024.

Graph showing Americans' support for marriage rights.

The change comes as Republicans have mounted campaigns in state legislatures across the country attacking LGBTQ+ rights, with hundreds of bills introduced and many passed. Most of the bills targeted transgender people’s rights, especially transgender children’s.

The shift in strategy came after anti-trans activists within the Republican party struggled to get their issues noticed by the Trump campaign in 2020. In 2020, no state banned gender-affirming care for transgender youth, but now 25 states do.

Along with the anti-trans legislation came the “groomer” attacks, where conservatives used social media to portray LGBTQ+ people and allies as child predators for merely existing in the presence of children. Anti-trans misinformation has spread online.

And last year, conservatives began attacking corporations for selling Pride gear, including Target, in a coordinated effort to make Pride “toxic.” House Republicans also started attacking longstanding earmarks for LGBTQ+ community projects in larger appropriations bills, funding that had largely been uncontroversial until 2023.

The Gallup poll found that 71% of Americans believed that same-sex relationships were morally acceptable in 2022, but that number dropped to 64% in 2023 and stayed there in 2024.

Graph showing people who say homosexuality is morally acceptable

The drop came from independents and Republicans, with support among Democrats actually growing from 2023 to 2024. Fifty-six percent of Republicans said that homosexuality was morally acceptable in 2022, but only 40% said the same in 2024.

Partisan belief in moral acceptability of homosexuality.

The current Republican party platform opposes marriage equality – saying that marriage is “between one man and one woman” – and 157 House Republicans voted against the Respect for Marriage Act in 2022, which required states and the federal government to recognize marriages performed in other states.

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