Poll: Majority Support Gay Rights, but Oppose Homosexual Scout Leaders

By:  Dave Bohon
Poll: Majority Support Gay Rights, but Oppose Homosexual Scout Leaders

While Americans may be growing more accepting of homosexuality, a Gallup poll finds that a majority agree with the Boy Scouts' ban on gay scout leaders.

A recent Gallup survey has indicated that while a slim majority of Americans favor the legalization of same-sex marriage, a much larger percentage support a broad range of rights for homosexuals that have historically been reserved for traditional married couples.

However, an interesting wrinkle appeared in the polling results, as a majority of Americans said they support the decision of the Boy Scouts of America to exclude openly homosexual individuals from serving as scout leaders.

The Gallup survey of 1,015 randomly selected Americans at least 18 years of age, conducted for USA Today in late November, found that 53 percent of Americans say they support the legalization of homosexual marriage.

However, when it comes to specific rights once only enjoyed by traditional married couples, Americans appear to have become much more accepting. For example, 78 percent of those surveyed said they thought that “domestic partners or spouses” of gays and lesbians should be able to have inheritance rights, with only 18 percent saying they should not.

Similarly, 77 percent said they thought that there should be health insurance and other employee benefits available for the domestic partners or spouses of homosexuals (20 percent opposed), and 61 percent said they felt gays and lesbians should have adoption rights so they can legally adopt children (36 percent opposed this notion).

However, with such a generous attitude about the rights of gays and lesbians, 52 percent of those surveyed said that the Boy Scouts of America “should not allow openly gay adults to serve as Boy Scout leaders,” with only 42 percent saying the group should allow homosexuals to serve.

The Gallup pollsters added a qualifying caveat for this finding in otherwise pro-gay survey results, saying that it was “not clear whether support [for homosexual scout leaders] is higher than in the past, or the degree to which the lack of support may reflect respondents' reluctance to say how a private organization should decide who holds its positions of leadership.”

The breakdown on the results of the question along party lines was fairly predictable, with only 26 percent of self-identified Republicans supporting homosexual scout leaders, compared with 60 percent support among Democrats and 40 percent among self-identified Independents.

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