Buoyed by newfound support among Republicans, more Americans than ever are backing marriage equality, according to Gallup’s annual Values and Beliefs poll.
Findings from the survey, published on June 8, show that 70 percent of people in the US back LGBTQ marriage — a far cry from the 27 percent of Americans who answered that way in 1996 when Gallup first began tracking the data. According to the report, which is based on telephone interviews with 1,016 adults between May 3 and May 18, support for LGBTQ marriage has increased by 10 percentage points since reaching 60 percent in 2015 when the US Supreme Court declared queer folks could legally marry nationwide.
Over the years, support for equal marriage rights steadily grew — but the biggest increase as of late has been seen among Republicans. For the first time ever, an outright majority of Republicans — 55 percent — support marriage equality, which is a hefty 11-point increase from just two years ago. Just 30 percent of Republicans in 2015 and 16 percent in 1996 were supportive of marriage rights.
“The latest increase in support among all Americans is driven largely by changes in Republicans’ views,” researchers wrote. “Once opponents of legalization, Republicans have mostly come to back it.”
This year, 83 percent of Democrats back marriage equality, which is the same number as in 2018. The lack of fluctuation in the last couple years among Democrats has led researchers to suggest that Democrats have reached a ceiling in their support of the issue. Still, Democratic support for marriage equality has grown over the years: In 2015, it had the support of 74 percent of Democrats compared to 33 percent in 1996.
Among independents, 73 percent favor marriage equality compared to approximately 62 percent in 2015 and 32 percent in 1996.
Although there is support for queer marriage overall, young people are still leading the way on the issue. According to the poll, 84 percent of young adults favor marriage equality compared to 72 percent of middle-aged adults and 60 percent of older Americans. According to the survey, support among individuals older than 55 has jumped approximately 10 percentage points since 2019.
In 2019, the US Census recorded close to a million same-sex couples in the US. Several of them resided in San Francisco, California, which has the largest share of same-sex couples in the US, along with Portland, Oregon and Orlando, Florida.
Researchers said they expect more Americans to equal marriage rights in the future.
“Court and legislative challenges to the legal status of same-sex marriage have simmered down since the Supreme Court issued its decision,” researchers wrote. “Meanwhile, older US adults, who were once holdouts in support for gay marriage, now come down on the same side of the issue as young adults.”
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