Pew: Support for same-sex marriage at record high, but key segments remain opposed

Edgard Perez, left, 40, and his spouse Charles Windham, right, 53, pose for a photo after they were married at the marriage license bureau, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015 in Miami.

Edgard Perez, left, 40, and his spouse Charles Windham, right, 53, pose for a photo after they were married at the marriage license bureau, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015 in Miami. Wilfredo Lee, AP

Edgard Perez, left, 40, and his spouse Charles Windham, right, 53, pose for a photo after they were married at the marriage license bureau, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015 in Miami. Wilfredo Lee, AP

Edgard Perez, left, 40, and his spouse Charles Windham, right, 53, pose for a photo after they were married at the marriage license bureau, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015 in Miami.

As the Supreme Court prepares to decide a key case involving the constitutionality of states’ same-sex marriage bans, public support for allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally continues its rapid rise: A 57 percent majority of Americans now favor allowing same-sex marriage, and 39 percent oppose, according to a new national survey by Pew Research Center.

This is the highest level of support measured for same-sex marriage in nearly 20 years of Pew Research Center polling of the issue. As recently as five years ago, more opposed (48 percent) same-sex marriage than supported it (42 percent).

Yet even as support for same-sex marriage has increased among nearly all segments in the public, some groups remain broadly opposed to same-sex marriage. (See detailed demographic breakdowns and long-term trends on same-sex marriage.)

The survey, conducted May 12-18 among 2,002 adults, finds partisans are as divided as ever on this issue: Today, 65 percent of Democrats and an identical percentage of independents favor gay marriage; only about a third (34 percent) of Republicans do so.

Growing shares of all three groups support same-sex marriage, yet the differences between Democrats and Republicans are as wide today as they were a decade ago.

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However, with same-sex marriage legal in 36 states (and the District of Columbia) and the possibility of a Supreme Court decision on its nationwide status, Republicans (72 percent) are just as likely as Democrats (72 percent) and independents (74 percent) to say that it is “inevitable” that same-sex marriage will be legally recognized.

Key findings

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