May 6, 2013

Seven in 10 Young Adults Favor Same-Sex Marriage


Seven in 10 Americans born after 1980 believe gay men and lesbians should be able to marry legally.

Rhode Island last week became the 10th state to legalize same-sex marriage, and in Delaware, the state Senate is poised to take up a bill authorizing same-sex marriage that’s already passed the state House. Legalization bills are pending in several other state legislatures (for a map showing the current status of same-sex marriage laws in all 50 states, click here).

While support for same-sex marriage has risen sharply among all age groups compared to even a decade ago, so-called “Millennials” (people born after 1980) are by far the most likely to say gay men and lesbians should be able to marry legally. In a March survey by the Pew Research Center, fully 70% of Millennials said they supported same-sex marriage. The report attributed much of the overall opinion shift to the arrival of that generation on the scene.

The attitudinal, generational and legislative shifts have combined to persuade many Americans — even those who oppose same-sex marriage — that it will inevitably be legal throughout the country. A poll conducted this past November by LifeWay Research, an affiliate of the Southern Baptist Convention, found that 64% agreed that same-sex marriage eventually will be legal everywhere.

  1. Photo of Drew DeSilver

    is a senior writer at Pew Research Center.