May 14, 2019

Little change in opinion since 2017

A graph showing public remains supportive of same-sex marriage; wide partisan gap persistsAfter years of generally steady increases, opinions about same-sex marriage are mostly unchanged since 2017. Today, a majority of Americans (61%) favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally, while about half as many (31%) oppose same-sex marriage.

While attitudes about same-sex marriage are changed little from two years ago, support has increased substantially over the past two decades. In 2004, opinion was almost the reverse of what it is today: 60% opposed same-sex marriage, while just 31% were in favor.

The Pew Research Center survey, conducted March 20-25 among 1,503 adults finds that Republicans and Democrats remain deeply divided over legal marriage for gays and lesbians – though support has increased significantly in both parties over the past 15 years.

Today, three-quarters of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents favor same-sex marriage, up from 43% 15 years ago. By contrast, fewer than half of Republicans and Republican leaners (44%) support same-sex marriage; in 2004, just 19% of Republicans supported it.

Support for same-sex marriage also has increased among nearly all demographic groups over the past 15 years, including across generations and by religious affiliation:

  • Support for same-sex marriage is highest among Millennials (74%) – as has generally been the case for nearly a decade. A majority of Gen Xers (58%) support allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally, as do about half of Boomers (51%) and 45% of the Silent Generation.
  • Among religious groups, majorities of Catholics (61%), white mainline Protestants (66%) and the religiously unaffiliated (79%) say they support same-sex marriage. By contrast, just  29% of white evangelical Protestants favor same-sex marriage, while about twice as many (63%) are opposed.

Continue exploring attitudes about same-sex marriage.

Year Favor Oppose
2001 35% 57%
2003 32% 59%
2004 31% 60%
2005 36% 53%
2006 35% 55%
2007 37% 54%
2008 39% 51%
2009 37% 54%
2010 42% 48%
2011 46% 44%
2012 48% 43%
2013 50% 43%
2014 52% 40%
2015 55% 39%
2016 55% 37%
2017 62% 32%
2019 61% 31%

Pew Research Center

Year Rep/Lean Rep Dem/Lean Dem
2001 23% 45%
2003 24% 44%
2004 19% 43%
2005 20% 49%
2006 20% 47%
2007 20% 49%
2008 23% 51%
2009 21% 51%
2010 27% 55%
2011 35% 57%
2012 30% 63%
2013 33% 62%
2014 37% 67%
2015 38% 69%
2016 38% 70%
2017 47% 76%
2019 44% 75%

Pew Research Center

Year Republican Lean Rep Lean Dem Democrat
2001 21% 29% 53% 43%
2003 22% 29% 48% 43%
2004 17% 23% 47% 40%
2005 19% 24% 60% 45%
2006 17% 27% 55% 43%
2007 18% 25% 52% 48%
2008 19% 31% 55% 50%
2009 19% 25% 54% 50%
2010 24% 32% 59% 53%
2011 27% 45% 59% 56%
2012 25% 38% 66% 62%
2013 29% 40% 69% 59%
2014 30% 47% 72% 64%
2015 32% 48% 74% 66%
2016 33% 46% 70% 70%
2017 40% 57% 82% 73%
2019 37% 56% 81% 71%

Pew Research Center

Year Cons Rep/Ln Rep Mod-Lib Rep/Ln Rep Cons-Mod Dem/Ln Dem Lib Dem/Ln Dem
2001 15% 37% 39% 59%
2003 16% 38% 38% 63%
2004 12% 28% 33% 66%
2005 10% 36% 36% 73%
2006 11% 33% 37% 69%
2007 12% 35% 41% 71%
2008 15% 37% 42% 74%
2009 14% 36% 43% 70%
2010 17% 44% 46% 72%
2011 24% 49% 50% 72%
2012 20% 48% 55% 79%
2013 24% 49% 53% 79%
2014 25% 56% 58% 82%
2015 25% 60% 59% 84%
2016 25% 60% 61% 84%
2017 39% 63% 66% 90%
2019 36% 59% 64% 88%

Pew Research Center