The researchers found that straight respondents were almost equally supportive of legal benefits for couples of all orientations. About 70 percent of straight respondents said they support inheritance rights for gay and lesbian couples, for example. The level of support on the inheritance rights issue was the same for heterosexual couples.
Interestingly enough, only 53% of heterosexuals approved of same-sex marriage, though the 70% figure from above approves of all the legal benefits provided by marriage.
“If you grant marriage, you get all those rights,” Long Doan the Indiana U researcher who conducted the study told The Chicago Tribune . “So there’s that disconnect in heterosexuals’ attitudes.”
In a more depressing show of numbers, 95% of the straight folks surveyed said said they approved of straight couples kissing on the cheek in public, but only 55% said two men should be allowed to do the same. And in a final twist of the sexualization-knife, 72% said it was alright for two women to display this small show of affection.
Straight men were the least supportive of gay couples (but more-okay with lesbian couples).
Sadly, it seemed the gay and lesbian folks surveyed were also less supportive of same-sex shows of affection in public.
Doan said this answer could come from the fear gays and lesbian experience for displaying this kind of affection and receiving public backlash.
We asked a similar survey here at GayRVA last year and 60% of our readership said they didn’t feel safe holding hands in public.
Doans research aims to deal with “modern prejudice,” a concept psychology and sociology researchers use to examine minor prejudices and attitudes which exist after legal rights are given to minority groups. Doan suggested to LiveScience that the study shows the difference between old-fashioned gay prejudices from religious tradition, and modern moral objections.
The study is do out in the December issue of the American Sociology Review.