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Republicans are finally OK with marriage equality 5 years after it became legal

A majority of Republicans finally support marriage for same-sex couples.

By Casey Quinlan - March 23, 2021
Pride flags

Five years after the landmark Supreme Court decision that made marriage equality the law of the land, 51% of Republicans said they supported marriage equality, according to a Public Religion Research Institute poll that looked at data from 2020. In 2019, 47% of Republicans felt the same way.

The poll, which was released on Tuesday, said that 67% of all Americans support marriage equality. Seventy-two percent of independents back marriage equality, and 76% of Democrats say they are in favor of it. The poll also showed majority support for marriage equality among all the religious groups it surveyed, with the exception of white evangelical Protestants.

Sixty-two percent of Republicans say they favor nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people. Eight-five percent of Democrats and 79% of Independents say the same. The Equality Act, federal legislation that would provide safeguards to LGBTQ people in housing, public accommodations, jury service, and more, passed the House in February and is under consideration in the Senate.

Of those surveyed who oppose pro-LGBTQ policies, they tend to be white, Christian, and older than 50.

In June of 2015, the court held in Obergefell v. Hodges that same-sex couples have the right to get married throughout the United States.

In the years before the ruling, conservative commentators, including Bill O’Reilly, claimed that marriage equality would lead to people getting married to animals. Following the Supreme Court’s decision, incensed Republican lawmakers said ministers would be forced to perform marriages for same-sex couples, which wasn’t true. Those lawmakers, along with like-minded right-wing groups, decided to fight for state religious refusal bills that encouraged anti-LGBTQ discrimination.

Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act was one of them. However, once it became law and it faced criticism on a national level, people in business and tourism said the law hurt the state and lost people a lot of money.

Now, experts on the anti-LGBTQ movement say people opposed to LGBTQ equality have turned their attention to attacking the transgender community, including with “bathroom bills,” or state legislation that policed transgender people’s use of facilities.

While that avenue of anti-LGBTQ attacks has proven itself mostly ineffective, conservatives have started advocating for limiting the health care transgender youth can receive and banning transgender people — mostly transgender girls — from participating in the sports team of their gender.

Republican lawmakers and anti-LGBTQ groups have said they are trying to protect fairness in women’s sports for cisgender girls and have suggested transgender girls would potentially harm their safety. But as a group, Republicans’ records have shown that they do not support many policies that would keep women, cisgender and transgender, safe from sexual violence or intimate partner abuse.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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