05/24/2007 - In the past four decades, growing numbers of gays have come out of the closet and into the mainstream of American life. As a consequence, 4-in-10 Americans now report that some of their close friends or family members are gays or lesbians, according to a recent national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.
About half of all women, young people, college graduates, political liberals and mainline Protestants say that someone close to them is gay, the survey found. But significantly fewer men, conservative Republicans and older Americans report that a good friend or family member is homosexual.
An analysis of survey results suggests that familiarity is closely linked to tolerance. People who have a close gay friend or family member are more likely to support gay marriage and they are also significantly less likely to favor allowing schools to fire gay teachers than are those with little or no personal contact with gays, the poll found.
Read full report Poll Finds Four-in-Ten Americans Have Close Friends or Relatives Who are Gay on the Pew Research Center Web site.
Shawn Neidorf , Research Associate Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and Rich Morin, Senior Editor, Pew Research Center are the authors of the survey report.