Poll: Majority Believe People Are Born Gay

Forty-two percent of Americans believe people are born gay. (ba1969/rgbstock.com)

The support for same-sex marriage may have hit its highest point since Gallup started polling on the topic, but Americans remain split on how people come to be homosexual.

According to a recent Gallup poll, more than a third of Americans (37 percent) believe people become gay as a result of factors such as upbringing and environment, while 42 percent believe people are born gay. The latter number is down from a 2013 poll, in which 47 percent believed people were gay at birth.

Gallup reports: "Those with college educations, whites, females, liberals, Democrats, high-income earners and those who seldom or never attend church are the most likely to believe that being gay or lesbian is something people are born with."

The poll, conducted May 8-11, shows that Americans' views on the topic have evolved. When Gallup first asked about the origins of homosexuality in 1977, more than half (56 percent) attributed it to upbringing and environment, while a mere 13 percent believed sexual orientation was determined at birth.

By 2001, 40 percent of Americans believed homosexuality started at birth. Since then, they have been divided on the topic. The scientific community is also divided over the issue of sexual orientation and how it is determined.

"There is no consensus among scientists about the exact reasons that an individual develops a heterosexual, bisexual, gay, or lesbian orientation," the American Psychological Association says.

The United Kingdom's Royal College of Psychiatrists recently released a statement saying people are not born gay.

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