At the time, the results no doubt confirmed what some might have expected: A minority of Christians believed that society should accept homosexuality. A year later, California — that beacon of left coast liberalism — famously passed Proposition 8, enshrining in the state constitution a definition of marriage as between a man and a woman.
But something changed since then. A series of legal challenges slowly secured more and more rights for gay Americans, granting them the right to marry and protecting them from discrimination.
Attitudes began to shift, too, according to the latest version of that Pew study, published Tuesday.
The chart above, embedded in Pew’s update on that extensive survey, shows just how much most Christian Americans have changed when it comes to their attitudes toward their gay peers.
Orthodox Christians saw the biggest shift, with support rising 14 percentage points in just seven years. Catholics, Mormons and historically black Protestants were close behind, each seeing support for broad societal acceptance of homosexuality rise by 12 points.
Millennials are, in part, responsible for driving that shift, the authors of the Pew report find.
“Changing attitudes about homosexuality are linked to the same generational forces helping to reshape religious identity and practice in the United States, with millennials expressing far more acceptance of homosexuality than older adults do,” they write.
But not all social issues saw such dramatic change, the study found. Americans have shifted little in their attitudes toward abortion.