Support of same-sex marriage in US reaches all-time high, poll finds

U.S. support for same-sex marriage has reached an all-time high at 70%, an increase of 10 percentage points since 2015 when the Supreme Court ruled same-sex couples can marry in all 50 states, according to a new poll released by Gallup. 

The current 70% support is the highest since Gallup first began asking the question in 1996 when support for same-sex marriage stood at just 27%. The global public opinion polling company said support has been trending upward over time, reaching a majority level for the first time in 2011.

In 2015, the Supreme Court ruled on the Obergefell v. Hodges case in a narrow 5-4 decision that declared nationwide the right to same-sex marriage. At that time, Gallup said support in the U.S. 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," the company said. 

Gallup said that a majority of Republicans also now support same-sex marriage for the first time, reporting 55% in 2021. Republicans have consistently been the political party least in favor of same-sex marriage, Gallup added. 

"The latest increase in support among all Americans is driven largely by changes in Republicans' views," the company said.

Rainbow Flag On US Consulate General In Krakow, Poland

FILE - The LGBTQ pride flag is seen hanging next to the U.S. national flag over the entrance to the U.S. Consulate General in Krakow, Poland on June 2, 2021. (Photo by Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Democrats, who have been among the biggest supporters of legal same-sex marriage, stood at 83% in 2021. Gallup said this percentage has been on par with the level of support the company has recorded over the past few years, suggesting "that support for gay marriage has reached a ceiling for this group, at least for now."

Support among political independents, currently at 73%, is slightly higher than the 68% to 71% range recorded from 2017 to 2020, Gallup said.

There are still age differences that remain, though Gallup said age groups across the board are the most supportive they’ve ever been. Currently, 84% of young adults, 72% of middle-aged adults, and 60% of older adults say they support legal same-sex marriage.

"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," the company concluded. 

Gallup's annual Values and Beliefs poll was based on telephone interviews of more than 1,000 adults across the U.S. between May 3 to 18, 2021.

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Earlier this year, the company said 5.6% of U.S. adults reported that they identify as LGBT, up from 4.5% in 2017. Within this group, more than half (54.6%) of LGBT adults identified as bisexual, about a quarter said they are gay, 11.7% identified as lesbian, and 11.3% identified as transgender. 

An additional 3.3% gave another non-heterosexual preference or term to describe their sexual orientation, such as queer or same-gender-loving, Gallup said.

"One of the main reasons LGBT identification has been increasing over time is that younger generations are far more likely to consider themselves to be something other than heterosexual," the company said in its annual update. 

One in six adult members of Generation Z, those between the ages of 18 to 23 in 2020, said they consider themselves to be something other than straight.

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This story was reported from Cincinnati.