Over the last few decades, there has been a large change in public opinion towards same-sex relationships in many countries. As shown in Figure 1, when asked whether it is “wrong for same-sex adults to have sexual relations”, in the early 1970s, only around 20% of Americans thought that it was never or almost never wrong (as opposed to almost always or always wrong). By 2016, the equivalent figure was around 60%. This is a vast cultural change. Why did this change take place?
Figure 1 Share of US population that answered “never wrong” or “sometimes wrong” to the question “Is it wrong for same-sex adults to have sexual relations?”, 1972 to 2016
Social beliefs are stable when the incentives for people to deviate in their public actions/beliefs are low, either