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Numbers, Facts and Trends Shaping Your World

March 10, 2014

Changing Attitudes on Gay Marriage

Public Opinion

In Pew Research polling in 2001, Americans opposed same-sex marriage by a 57% to 35% margin.

Since then, support for same-sex marriage has steadily grown. Today, a majority of Americans (54%) support same-sex marriage, compared with 39% who oppose it.

Attitudes by Generation

This is due in part to generational change. Younger generations express higher levels of support for same-sex marriage.

However, even older generations have become more supportive of same-sex marriage in recent years.

Attitudes by Religious Affiliation

Among people who are religiously unaffiliated, a solid majority have supported same-sex marriage since 2001.

And among Catholics and white mainline Protestants, roughly six-in-ten now express support for same-sex marriage. Support for same-sex marriage also has grown among black Protestants.

Support among white evangelical Protestants remains lower than among other groups.

Attitudes by Political Party

Two-thirds of Democrats and roughly six-in-ten independents now favor same-sex marriage.

Most Republicans continue to oppose same-sex marriage.

Attitudes by Political Ideology

Support for same-sex marriage now stands at 79% among self-described liberals and 63% among moderates.

Far fewer conservatives (31%) support same-sex marriage.

Attitudes by Race

In 2001, roughly one-third of both whites and blacks expressed support for same-sex marriage. Today, 54% of whites support same-sex marriage, as do 43% of blacks.

Attitudes by Gender

Support for same-sex marriage has risen among both men and women in recent years. Today, 58% of women and 50% of men support same-sex marriage.

Source: 2014 figures are from a single Pew Research Center survey conducted Feb. 12-26, 2014. Figures for other years are from aggregated Pew Research surveys conducted in each year.

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