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Support for Gay Marriage Is at an All-Time High, Even Among Conservatives

A new poll shows a growing number of Americans are rallying behind the ruling—including groups who have historically been against it.

by Drew Schwartz
Jun 27 2017, 12:52pm

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Many Republicans, baby boomers, and evangelical Christians—all historically opposed to same-sex marriage—are coming around to the idea of marriage equality, according to a new poll from the Pew Research Center.

The findings, released Monday, come exactly two years after the Supreme Court granted gay and lesbian couples to right to marry in 2015, sparking celebration, conservative backlash, and some resistance across the country. Monday's poll indicates that not only is American support for same-sex marriage the highest it's been for 20 years (62 percent), but groups opposed to the landmark ruling have warmed to the prospect of gays and lesbians tying the knot.

Pew surveyed 2,504 adults by phone in all 50 states for its study, asking if they favored or opposed allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally. For the first time in the poll's history, Republicans were evenly split on the question—with 47 percent supporting marriage equality and 48 percent against it. Baby boomers, who had been more split on the issue last year, were now more in favor of same-sex marriage, with 56 percent outweighing the 39 percent against it.

White evangelical Protestants have long opposed marriage equality, and 59 percent of the cohort are still averse to it. But among younger members of the demographic—those born after 1964—the idea has gained some support. Now, 47 percent favor same-sex marriage, a sharp spike from the 29 percent supporting the practice just last year. Still, evangelical Protestants as a whole lag far behind Catholics (67 percent), white mainline Protestants (68 percent), and the non-religious (85 percent) who support the legal right for gays and lesbians to marry.

Along racial and ethnic lines, 64 percent of whites, 60 percent of Hispanics, and 51 percent of African Americans support same-sex marriage. According to Pew, blacks have historically been more resistant to the practice than other groups—in 2007, just 26 percent supported it—but the proportion who now do has skyrocketed, jumping 12 percentage points since 2015.

While public opinion is broadly trending toward support for same-sex marriage, the Kim Davises of America still exist. On Monday, the Supreme Court agreed to consider whether a Denver pastry shop has the right to refuse to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple on religious grounds—a case set to establish a major precedent on the definition of discrimination when it goes to trial next term.

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