Gay Americans report more acceptance, room for progress: survey

Thu Jun 13, 2013 12:11pm EDT
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By Edith Honan

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The vast majority of U.S. lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender adults say society has become more accepting of them in the past decade, according to a poll billed as the first-ever major survey of its kind in America.

However, although 92 percent of those asked saw progress, many said bias remained common, according to the Pew Research Center's report released on Thursday.

Two in 10 people said they have been treated unfairly by an employer because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and three in 10 say they have been physically attacked or threatened. While six in 10 said there was some acceptance, two in 10 said there was a lot of social acceptance. Two in 10 said there was "no acceptance."

"For LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people, this is the best of times, but that doesn't mean these are easy times or that their lives are uncomplicated," said Paul Taylor, a co-author of the report and executive vice president of Pew.

The survey comes at a time when American society is experiencing a sea change in attitudes.

A Pew survey released last week found that over half of Americans favor giving gays and lesbians the right to marry, while nearly three-quarters said legal recognition of gay marriage is "inevitable."

Twelve states and Washington, D.C., have legalized same-sex marriage, including six since last fall. The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule soon on a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act, a 1996 law that restricted federal recognition of marriage to heterosexual couples, as well as a challenge to a 2008 California referendum that banned gay marriage in the state.

In 2011, President Barack Obama declared gays and lesbians would be able to serve openly in the military. The following year, he became the first sitting president to endorse same-sex marriage.   Continued...

Landscape "artists" put finishing touches on a giant rainbow flag on the top of a dormant landfill, nicknamed Mount Trashmore, in Key West, Florida, June 4, 2010. REUTERS/Andy Newman