Majority of Americans now support marriage equality

May 26, 2011

A Gallup poll released earlier this week marked an historical point in polling on same-sex marriage:

For the first time in Gallup’s tracking of the issue, a majority of Americans (53%) believe same-sex marriage should be recognized by the law as valid, with the same rights as traditional marriages. The increase since last year came exclusively among political independents and Democrats. Republicans’ views did not change.

This year's nine-percentage-point increase in support for same-sex marriage is the largest year-to-year shift yet measured over this time period. Two-thirds of Americans were opposed to legalized same-sex marriage in 1996, with 27% in favor. By 2004, support had risen to 42% and, despite some fluctuations from year to year, stayed at roughly that level through last year.

To help put this into context, take a look at this graph that tracks public opinion since 1996.

The Center for Inquiry firmly believes that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals are entitled to the same civil rights and liberties as heterosexuals. To read our position paper on this issue, click here