++Addition++At Secular Right, Razib finds that there is a larger gap among younger and older liberals and moderates than among younger and older conservatives on the question of same-sex marriage.
Last week in response to a caller who identified herself as a lesbian opposing same-sex marriage, radio host Michael Savage claimed that most homosexuals shared her view. While Savage has celerity of mind, for so heavily emphasizing his scientific credentials, he's often sloppy and imprecise. The assertion in question is an example of as much, although the exchange did pique my curiosity regarding the size of the gay minority opposing same-sex marriage.
In 2008, the GSS explicitly asked about sexual orientation for the first time. Of the 22 homosexuals who were also queried about whether or not they support same-sex marriage, 21 back it while only one expressed opposition. Among the same cohort of heterosexuals (N = 1146), 39.9% support it, 47.0% oppose, and 13.1% are on the fence.
To obtain a larger sample size (N = 85), a question about the gender of sexual partners serves as a proxy. From 2004 to 2008, of those whose partners over the last five years have exclusively been of the same sex, 78.8% support same-sex marriage and 10.6% oppose it, while the remainder fence-sits.
Clearly, the vast majority of homosexuals support same-sex marriage. Reasonable estimates of the percentages of gays opposing it are in the 5%-10% range.
On the topic of same-sex marriage, as of 2008, a full two-thirds (67.8%) of self-identified liberals support it, while 1 in 5 (21.4%) oppose. Among conservatives, the distributions are flipped--17.8% support and 69.4% oppose. Moderates are split, with 40.6% supporting and 44.8% opposing.
Andrew Stuttaford and Razib both think same-sex marriage is a battle conservatives are inevitably going to lose. In the last couple of years, the issue has become more ideologically polarized, but lending support to Andrew and Razib is the fact that liberals and moderates are shifting in support of same-sex marriage more rapidly than conservatives are shifting against it.
In 2006, 57.9% of liberal respondents backed same-sex marriage, compared to the 67.8% who most recently voiced support for it. One in 10 have gone over to the pro-gay marriage side in the last two years. Similar changes are occuring among self-described moderates. In 2006, 34.3% supported same-sex marriage. Now 40.6% do. Meanwhile, conservative opposition grew only marginally, from 67.5% in 2006 to the 69.4% currently opposing it.
GSS variables used: MARHOMO, SEX(1)(2), SEXSEX5, YEAR(2004-2008)(2006)(2008), POLVIEWS(1-3)(4)(5-7)