A recent Gallup opinion poll of American attitudes toward homosexuals seems to show something of a backlash against gays. Asked whether same-sex relations between adults should be legal in July 2003 only 48% said yes vs 46% no. This compares to 60% yes vs 35% no as recently as May. These represent the highest negative numbers in almost a decade.
Of course, they come in the wake of the recent ruling in which the US Supreme Court unilaterally did away with all sodomy laws, and in the midst of talk that the Massachusetts supreme court will soon basically take it on themselves to force gay marriage on the whole nation.
Take these poll numbers with some grain of salt. I find it unlikely that anything near half of the public would in fact support sending people to jail for homosexual acts. I would certainly HOPE not, at least. I would take these numbers more just as a sign of irritation.
Some of this negative backlash comes from homosexuals being too damned pushy. Sure, beating up homosexuals or just being mean is hateful and wrong. Live and let live. Most everyone would agree with that. But many homosexual advocates won't accept simple tolerance. Any hint of criticism or disagreement will likely get your roundly denounced.
The obvious current example of this is gay marriage. Now, there are perfectly legitimate issues about wanting common legal protections for inheritance and making medical decisions, etc. To that end, even many social conservatives are willing to endorse some sort of civil union giving equivalent legal rights to homosexual couples. They just don't want to call it "marriage." It's not really the same thing in their understandable if debatable opinion.
Yeah, well they're HOMOPHOBES for saying that. They're stupid and evil. Gay advocates start up with the specious "separate but equal" analogy, insisting that this position is equivalent to Jim Crow.
See, homosexuals could get tolerance and a reasonable attempt at equal legal protection, but that won't do. Tolerance isn't good enough, only complete moral and social endorsement will do.
I suspect that many Americans WANT to be tolerant of gays, they just don't want to have homosexuals stuck up their ass. "Gay Pride Parade Sets Mainstream Acceptance of Gays Back 50 Years" That was a typically prescient Onion headline two years ago.