A majority of Americans say they support legal recognition of same-sex marriage amid growing evidence that the public’s become more comfortable with gays and lesbians, according to a new CNN/ORC International survey released Wednesday.
According to the survey, 54 percent of respondents now say that marriages between gay and lesbian couples should be leagl, with only 42 percent opposed.
The results also indicated that the number of Americans who say they have a close friend or family member who is gay jumped from 49 percent in 2010 to 60 percent today, the first time in CNN polling that a majority of Americans have said that.
“Attitudes toward sexual orientation have also changed over that same time period,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
“In 1998, a majority believed that someone who is gay or lesbian could change their sexual orientation if they choose to do so. Today, only a third feel that way, and the number who say that gays and lesbians cannot change their orientation is almost six in ten. Those shifts probably explain the growing acceptance of same-sex marriage.”
The poll indicates a partisan divide, with seven in ten Democrats as well as six in ten independent voters saying same-sex marriages should be recognized by the law as valid, and 72 percent of Republicans opposed. The survey also indicates a generational divide, with nearly two-thirds of those under 50 in favor of legal same sex marriages and 55 percent of those 50 and older opposed.
The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International from May 29-31, with 1,009 adults nationwide were questioned by telephone. Full results are here (PDF).