An article posted today on The Atlantic’s website chronicles a big shift that’s taking place in attitudes about marriage equality in the South.

In 2003, just 22 percent of Southerners supported marriage equality, according to the Pew Research Center. Today, that number is 48 percent, according to a recent study from the Public Religion Research Institute.

The Atlantic article cites three main factors for the shift in attitudes. The first is that younger people are more likely to favor marriage equality, and nearly two-thirds of southern Millennials identify as supporters.

The second is the “friends and family” effect, where people are more likely to be supportive if they know someone who is LGBT. Of the 64 percent of southerners who say they have a close friend or family member who is gay or lesbian, 56 percent of these individuals embrace marriage equality.

The article’s author, Robert P. Jones, who is also the lead author of the PRRI study, says the third factor is that a growing number of people believe that our laws should treat same-sex couples equally, even if these people have personal objections to same-sex relationships.

HRC is launching its own survey of the LGBT community. Make your voice heard at

Marriage equality; Same-sex marriage

Filed under: Religion & Faith

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