- Support for gay marriage at 70% for first time
- A majority of Republicans now support same-sex marriage
- Support among older adults has reached the 60% mark
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. support for legal same-sex marriage continues to trend upward, now at 70% -- a new high in Gallup's trend since 1996. This latest figure marks an increase of 10 percentage points since 2015, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that all states must recognize same-sex marriages.
Line graph. The percentage of Americans who say same-sex marriage should be recognized by law as valid. 70% of Americans in the latest poll, from 2021, say this.
These data are from Gallup's annual Values and Beliefs poll, conducted May 3-18.
Today's 70% support for same-sex marriage marks a new milestone in a trend that has pointed upward for a quarter of a century. A small minority of Americans (27%) supported legal recognition of gay and lesbian marriages in 1996, when Gallup first asked the question. But support rose steadily over time, eventually reaching the majority level for the first time in 2011.
By the time of the Supreme Court's Obergefell v. Hodges decision in 2015, support for gay marriage had reached 60%. Since then, the issue has been less prominent in U.S. politics, and public support for same-sex marriage has continued to increase.
Gallup has recorded other shifts in Americans' ideas on marriage over time, historically, including expanded support for interracial marriage, which had 87% approval as of Gallup's 2013 update.
For the First Time, a Small Majority of Republicans Support Gay Marriage
Republicans, who have consistently been the party group least in favor of same-sex marriage, show majority support in 2021 for the first time (55%). The latest increase in support among all Americans is driven largely by changes in Republicans' views.
Democrats have consistently been among the biggest supporters of legal same-sex marriage. The current 83% among Democrats is on par with the level of support Gallup has recorded over the past few years. This could suggest that support for gay marriage has reached a ceiling for this group, at least for now. Meanwhile, support among political independents, now at 73%, is slightly higher than the 68% to 71% range recorded from 2017 to 2020.
Line graph. The percentage of Americans who say same-sex marriage should be recognized by law as valid, by political affiliation. 83% of U.S. Democrats, 73% of independents and 55% of Republicans in 2021 say same-sex marriage should be recognized by the law as valid.
Growth in Support for Same-Sex Marriage Continues Across Age Groups
As would be expected at a high-water mark in national support for same-sex marriage, all age groups are the most supportive they have been to date. Still, age differences remain, with 84% of young adults, 72% of middle-aged adults, and 60% of older adults saying they favor same-sex marriage.
Line graph. The percentage of Americans who say same-sex marriage should be recognized by law as valid, by age group. 84% of Americans aged 18-34, 72% of those aged 35-54 and 60% of those 55 years of age or older in 2021 say same-sex marriage should be recognized by law as valid.
Once opponents of legalization, Republicans have mostly come to back it. Court and legislative challenges to the legal status of same-sex marriage have simmered down since the Supreme Court issued its decision. Meanwhile, older U.S. adults, who were once holdouts in support for gay marriage, now come down on the same side of the issue as young adults.
Gallup's trend illustrates that Americans' views can shift in a relatively short time span, creating a new consensus -- even as polarization on other measures intensifies.
Learn more about how the Gallup Poll Social Series works.