"A Decade of Change on Same-sex Marriage," a survey and report by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), was published this week to reveal that the majority (53%) of Americans support marriage equality. This marks a 21% increase since Massachusetts became the first state to legalize marriage equality in 2003.
To find these trends for what turns out to be one of the largest surveys ever conducted on LGBT-related issues, PRRI tracked close to 100 polls from ABC/Washington Post, CNN/ORC, Fox News, Gallup, NBC/Wall Street Journal, Pew Research Center, and PRRI surveys.
The trend towards culturally-sanctioned LGBT equality may not have been fast-coming by any means, but it has gained astonishing momentum in recent years. PRRI found 2011 marked the first year that polls reported majority support for marriage equality, and that the number of states in which it's legal doubled between 2012 and 2013.
In addition to generally strengthened support, PRRI found:
- In the Northeast, West, and Midwest, there is majority support for marriage equality. There is 48% support in the South, as well as 48% opposition
- Democrats, Independents, and Republicans have all experienced increased rates of support since 2003, though the gap between the percentages of Democrats and Republicans supporting marriage equality has widened
- For the Religiously unaffiliated, white mainline Protestants, white Catholics, and Hispanic Catholics, there is majority support for marriage equally. Within white evangelical Protestant and black Protestant groups, opposition is still in the majority
- Nearly 7 out of 10 people between ages 18 and 33 and half of Republicans in this age range support marriage equality, as do 6/10 black Millennials
- Since 1993, the percent of those with social connections (a close friend or family member) who is gay or lesbian has nearly tripled from 22% to 65%.
These findings speak to the interlocking power of visibility, social experience, policy, and cultural change—the research demonstrates a correlation between knowing people who are LGBT, believing in LGBT equality, and voting accordingly.
"A Decade of Change on Same-sex Marriage" has additional, more detailed findings on religion, political parties, age groups, and more. You can find the executive summary and full report on PRRI's website.