Public opinion on same-sex marriage
In Pew Research Center polling in 2001, Americans opposed same-sex marriage by a margin of 57% to 35%.
Since then, support for same-sex marriage has steadily grown. And today, support for same-sex marriage is at its highest point since Pew Research Center began polling on this issue. Based on polling in 2017, a majority of Americans (62%) support same-sex marriage, while 32% oppose it. See the latest data on same-sex marriage.
Attitudes on same-sex marriage by generation
The increase in the share of adults who favor same-sex marriage is due in part to generational change. Younger generations express higher levels of support for same-sex marriage.
However, all generational cohorts have become more supportive of same-sex marriage in the past decade. Now, for the first time, more than half (56%) of Baby Boomers favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally. Support for same-sex marriage also has grown among those in the Silent Generation in recent years, although that remains the generational cohort least likely to express support for same-sex marriage (41%).
Attitudes on same-sex marriage by religious affiliation
Among people who are religiously unaffiliated, a solid majority have supported same-sex marriage since 2001. Today, 85% of religious “nones” say same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.
Two-thirds of Catholics now support same-sex marriage, as do a similar share of white mainline Protestants (68%).
Support for same-sex marriage among black Protestants and white evangelical Protestants remains lower than it is among other religious groups. However, the share of white evangelical Protestants who support same-sex marriage has grown from 27% in 2016 to 35% today.
Attitudes on same-sex marriage by political party identification
About seven-in-ten (73%) Democrats and independents (70%) favor same-sex marriage.
A smaller share of Republicans favor same-sex marriage (40%), although they also have become more supportive in recent years.
Attitudes on same-sex marriage by political ideology
Support for same-sex marriage now stands at 85% among self-described liberals and 70% among moderates.
Far fewer conservatives (41%) support same-sex marriage. But like liberals and moderates, conservatives have also grown more supportive of same-sex marriage over time.
Attitudes on same-sex marriage by race
In 2001, roughly one-third of both whites and blacks expressed support for same-sex marriage. Today, 64% of whites support same-sex marriage, as do 51% of blacks.
Attitudes on same-sex marriage by gender
Support for same-sex marriage has risen among both men and women in recent years. Today, 64% of women and 60% of men support same-sex marriage.
Source: Survey conducted June 8-18, 2017. Trend lines show aggregated data from polls conducted in each year. Question wording can be found here, and information on the Pew Research Center’s polling methodology can be found here.