New data from Equality Texas, a lobbying organization that advocates on behalf of LGBTQ issues, shows there are now more Texans who support gay marriage than oppose it.
According to the new numbers, 47.9 percent of Texas voters polled support gay marriage and 47.5 percent are opposed to it. The support is up from a prior Equality Texas survey from 2010 that showed 42.7 percent of Texans supported gay marriage and 52.7 percent opposed it.
Chuck Smith, the executive director of Equality Texas, said this is the first survey that, to his knowledge, has found more Texans in support of gay marriage than against it.
“Its reflective of what is happening across the nation, and Texas is not excluded from that,” Smith said.
Smith said the reason many people are reversing their stance is because they realize they personally know a person within the LGBTQ community.
Some of the most dramatic increases of support occurred in demographics that have traditionally had much lower support for gay marriage. The support for gay marriage from citizens above the age of 65 rose from 30.5 percent to 41.6 percent. And support from African Americans rose from 39.8 percent to 55.5 percent.
“We’ve seen African American support for gay marriage rise ever since Barack Obama came out in support of it,” Smith said. “And a big issue for the older generation is many of them are grandparents who are realizing they have gay grandkids that this effects.”
Other large increases occurred among independent voters and young voters. Support for gay marriage from independent voters rose 11.3 percent and support from 18-29 year olds rose 15.7 percent.
The poll also showed increased support in seven other issues Equality Texas advocates for, including rights like prohibiting employment and housing discrimination based on sexual orientation. Two issues showed no changes in support. While one issue, passing hate crime laws protecting transgender citizens, saw a drop in support from Texans.
The Equality Texas Foundation commissioned the poll from the Glengariff Group, Inc. The survey was conducted in January, and has a 3.1 percent margin of error. Earlier this week, Texas Tribune released a survey showing 37 percent of Texans support gay marriage, which is 10 percentage points lower than the numbers released by Equality Texas.