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

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

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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