For the first time in Gallup's tracking of the issue, a majority of Americans (53%) believe same-sex marriage should be recognized by the law as valid, with the same rights as traditional marriages. The increase since last year came exclusively among political independents and Democrats. Republicans' views did not change.
These results are based on Gallup's May 5-8 Values and Beliefs poll, which has tracked attitudes toward legalizing same-sex marriage each year since 2004, adding to Gallup's initial polling on the topic in 1996 and 1999.
This year's nine-point increase in support for same-sex marriage is the largest year-to-year shift yet measured over this time period. Two-thirds of Americans were opposed to legalized same-sex marriage in 1996, with 27% in favor. By 2004, support had risen to 42% and, despite some fluctuations from year to year, stayed at roughly that level through last year.
It's interesting to look at the crosstabs here to see how attitudes are changing. It's really looking like young voters are shifting the dynamics, and that "the gender gap" is narrowing as men's support for marriage equality is catching up to women's.
But at the same time, the partisan divide looks greater than ever. Even though there were gains for equality across the ideological spectrum, Republican support for marriage equality remained frozen (at 28%) as Democratic support rose 13% (from 56% to 69%) and nonpartisan support rose 10% (from 49% to 59%). Frankly, it's saddening to see that hatred and bigotry are still being used successfully as "culture war" "wedge issues" in the GOP.
But overall, this goes to show that much progress is being made in the beautiful struggle for LGBTQ civil rights, and that our elected representatives can't ignore what's becoming the will of the people for too much longer.