Support for same-sex marriage in the U.S. has reached a new high of 70%, according to a poll published Tuesday by Gallup. The percentage, which is the highest reported figure in the company's history of conducting the poll, marks a 10-point increase from 2015, when the for same-sex marriages to be recognized across all 50 states.
"As more Americans see and know LGBTQ people and couples, they see our relationships are as loving, as valuable, and as worth protecting as any straight marriage," Barbara Simon, the head of news and campaigns at the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), said in a statement. "It shows undeniable forward progress for LGBTQ acceptance."
When Gallup first conducted its survey in 1996, only 27% of Americans said they believed marriages between same-sex couples should be recognized by the law as valid. Support has consistently increased over the years, and in 2011, the majority of Americans for the first time said gay marriage should be legally recognized.
Gallup says the newest rise in support is largely driven by shifting views among Republicans. For the first time ever, Republicans, who have historically been the party group reporting the least amount of support for marriage equality in Gallup's polls, showed majority favor with 55% in 2021. That's up from 49% in 2020.
Eighty-three percent of Democrats, meanwhile, voiced support, maintaining a level seen in recent years. "This could suggest that support for gay marriage has reached a ceiling for this group, at least for now," Gallup wrote.
The data, which was calculated through a random sample of phone interviews with about 1,000 adults throughout the country last month, also showed that all age groups are the most supportive they have ever been. Young adults aged 18 to 34 had the highest number of supporters with 84%. Seventy-two percent of middle-aged adults between the ages of 35 and 54 were in favor, and 60% of older adults 55 and older said same-sex marriages should be legally recognized as valid.
"Older U.S. adults, who were once holdouts in support for gay marriage, now come down on the same side of the issue as young adults," the study stated.
Earlier this year in a routine update from Gallup, 5.6% of U.S. adults reported that they identified as LGBT. Within the community, more than half identified as bisexual, a quarter said they are gay, 11.7% identified as lesbian, and 11.3% identified as transgender. born between 1997 to 2021 considered themselves to not be straight, the company found.
Since the Supreme Court issued its decision in Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015, legislative challenges to marriage equality have relaxed, but other laws that affect the LGBTQ community have been introduced and passed throughout the country. Lawmakers in have proposed legislation that would ban transgender athletes from competing in school sports that match their identity, receiving backlash from advocacy groups who say the restrictions are unconstitutional.
This month, the Senate may have a chance to pass, a that would enshrine legal security for LGBTQ Americans, including protections to cover federally funded programs, employment, housing, loan applications, education and public accommodations.
Simon of GLAAD said the country's latest record-breaking support for marriage equality "should lead to the next obvious step to protect every LGBTQ American from discrimination in other areas of society" which would be enacting the Equality Act.
"Historic support for our families should be a clear signal to every U.S. Senator that the time has come to pass the Equality Act," Simon said. "The Senate should join the overwhelming majority of Americans in supporting laws that make our families and our country safer and stronger."
Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct the percentage of Republican support in 2020.