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Facebook: 70% of Americans Have a Gay Friend

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Tuesday Jun 25, 2013
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According to research by Facebook officials, 70 percent of Americans on the social media website have at least one gay friend, the Wall Street Journal reports.

In the light of the Supreme Court’s upcoming rulings on two landmark gay marriage cases, and the fact that it is Pride month, Facebook analysts crunched the numbers to find how many of its users are friends with someone who identifies as gay, lesbian or bisexual on the site.

"It’s a notable statistic, because gay-rights groups say some of their recent successes at the ballot - after years of losing there - can be tied with a kind of tipping point Americans have reached in being comfortable with gay and lesbian friends and family," the WSJ writes.

The newspaper reports, however, "there are some important caveats" to the statistics. For example, not everyone in the country is on Facebook (believe it or not), and not everyone you’ve added on Facebook is your actual friend. Additionally, some LGBT Facebook users have not listed their gender or orientation on their page.

Facebook does not have any data regarding the percentage of users who identify as gay, nor does it have information on how the measure of gay friends has changed over time or how it might vary by location. WSJ also adds, "just knowing someone who is gay doesn’t mean one supports the idea of same-sex marriage."

Nevertheless, it may not come as a surprise to some that 70 percent of Facebook’s members are pals with a gay person, as a recent Pew survey released earlier this month revealed that about 87 percent of Americans now personally know someone who is gay or lesbian. In 1993, just 61 percent knew someone gay or lesbian. The poll also found 49 percent of people surveyed said they have close family or friends who are gay.

In a WSJ-sponsored survey conducted in late 2012, 65 percent of people polled "know or work with someone who is gay."

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