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U.S. Support for Same-Sex Marriage Matches Record High

U.S. Support for Same-Sex Marriage Matches Record High

Story Highlights

  • 67% say marriages between same-sex couples should be legally valid
  • Current figure matches all-time high recorded in 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Two in three Americans (67%) say marriages between same-sex couples should be recognized by the law as valid, matching the previous high Gallup measured in 2018. The latest figure comes just before the five-year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that all states must recognize same-sex marriages.

Line graph. Americans support for same-sex marriage. In Gallup's May 1-13 survey, 67% say that same-sex marriage should be legally valid.

These data are from Gallup's annual Values and Beliefs poll, conducted May 1-13.

Since Gallup's initial measure on support for gay marriage in 1996, when 27% backed it, the percentage of U.S. adults saying it should be legally recognized has climbed by 40 percentage points.

Gallup first recorded majority-level support in May 2011, and support has exceeded 60% each year since 2016.

In its Obergefell v. Hodges decision on June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that all U.S. states must grant same-sex marriages and recognize those marriages granted in other states.

Democrats, Independents Much More Likely Than Republicans to Support Gay Marriage

U.S. Democrats (83%) have consistently been one of the most likely groups to favor same-sex marriage, and their support has grown the most (by 50 points) among political party groups since 1996. Support has also grown considerably among independents -- now at 71%, up 39 points since Gallup's initial measure.

Republicans have consistently been the least likely to favor same-sex marriage, though they have warmed to the idea over the course of Gallup's trend, growing in support by 33 points. Since 2017, however, their views have remained stable, ranging from 44% to 49%.

Line graph. Americans support for same-sex marriage, by political party affiliation. Democrats are most likely to support same-sex marriage, at 86%, followed by independents at 74% and Republicans at 45%.

Bottom Line

Americans' support for recognizing same-sex marriages as legally valid more than doubled between the late 1990s and the mid-2010s, and has since climbed even higher. The trend parallels the evolution of societal attitudes on legalizing marijuana over roughly the same time.

At this time, given both shifts in public attitudes and the Obergefell decision, gay marriage is unlikely to reemerge as a major issue in U.S. electoral politics. No serious efforts by the Republican Party, who were once staunch opponents to legalizing gay marriage, have been made since the court's decision -- even in recent years, under a Republican president.

Still, tracking Americans' evolution on the issue has been a fascinating shift to observe; their changing views on this matter are one of the most notable shifts in public opinion Gallup has measured in recent decades. Support for recognizing gay marriages has grown since the court's decision brought the issue to a close. Future Gallup measures will determine if the current two-thirds of Americans who support same-sex marriage is the ceiling, or if there is further growth in the coming decades.

Learn more about how the Gallup Poll Social Series works.

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