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Gallup Poll: Support for same-sex marriage at all-time high

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Gallup released a new poll on the first day of Pride Month, showing 71 percent of Americans say they support legal same-sex marriage. This is one percent higher than 2021, according to the polling company.

These data are from Gallup’s annual Values and Beliefs poll, conducted May 2–22.

When Gallup first polled about same-sex marriage in 1996, barely a quarter of the public (27 percent) supported legalizing such unions. It would take another 15 years, until 2011, for support to reach the majority level. Then in 2015, just one month before the U.S. Supreme Court’s Obergefell v. Hodges decision, public support for legalizing gay marriage cracked the 60 percent level, and last year it reached the 70 percent mark for the first time.

Weekly Churchgoers Are the Final Holdouts of Opposition

Rising national support for legal same-sex marriage reflects steady increases among most subgroups of the population, even those who have traditionally been the most resistant to gay marriage. Adults aged 65 and older, for example, became mostly supportive in 2016 — as did Protestants in 2017 and Republicans in 2021.

Americans who report that they attend church weekly remain the primary demographic holdout against gay marriage, with 40 percent in favor and 58 percent opposed.

Analyzing Gallup’s trends since 2004, Americans who seldom or never attend church have always been mostly supportive of same-sex couples getting legally married. Among those who attend nearly weekly or monthly, support did not rise to the majority level until 2014.

Weekly churchgoers, however, have yet to reach a majority level of support in the trend. The current 40 percent among this group who support same-sex marriage is within the 39–44 percent range Gallup has recorded since 2016.

Bottom Line

As Gallup’s trend on support for legal same-sex marriage inches ever upward, the question is when it will reach its ceiling. While support has typically increased by small percentages on an annual basis — often within the margin of error — cumulatively, the increases have produced a transformation in U.S. attitudes on an issue Americans once vehemently opposed.

Some observers of the Supreme Court’s leaked draft opinion related to Roe v. Wade in May have questioned whether an overturning of Roe would clear a path for the conservative-leaning court to also overturn Obergefell. If this were to happen, the court would be moving in opposition to a public opinion trend that has shown increasing support.

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