To understand why LGBT+ people fear the cultural, political and legal power of conservative Christians, one need look no further than a May 2012 Gallup Poll (below). It shows that 31% of Americans think that same-gender relationships between consenting adults should be illegal. As recently as 2009, the figure was 40%. It peaked at 57% in 1988. While it has steadily declined since then, the 2009 figure demonstrates that a material constituency would vote to criminalize gay relationships if given the opportunity to do so.
Gallup data does not provide a clear answer on who makes up the 31%. However, my question is one of perception: who do LGBT+ people think make up this 31%? Of course, to them, it is the conservative church that has battled against LGBT+ rights. Interestingly, according to a 2008 US Religious Landscape Survey, “Evangelical Protestants” and “Catholics” make up 26.3% and 23.9% of the population, respectively. The perception is that “we” — if given the opportunity — will criminalize their relationships. Hence, there are very tangible and high-consequence reasons why LGBT+ find it difficult to trust people like us.
Importantly, this poll is not about gay marriage — it is about the criminalization of homosexuality similar to what exists in certain African and Middle Eastern nations where many LGBT+ persons are beaten, persecuted, discriminated against, imprisoned, tortured and murdered. Think about it: are you part of the 31%?
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