When the Gallup organization first surveyed Americans about same-sex marriage in 1996, only 27 percent of the public supported legal recognition. By 2018, that number had risen to 67 percent. People changed their minds, in huge numbers — but how?
On this episode of Achieve Great Things, Doug visits with Freedom to Marry founder Evan Wolfson, who has been called the “architect of the marriage equality movement.” Wolfson says that achieving what social scientists call “durable attitude change” first requires giving people permission to change.
“We worked very hard not to push those reachable, but not yet reached, people into the camp of the opponents,” he said. “Just because they weren’t with us yet didn’t mean they were our opposition.”
Wolfson reflects on how the movement eventually achieved a supporting majority that couldn’t be stripped away, and what his own experience and cutting-edge social science say about changing hearts and minds on tough issues in divided times.