Today, 61% of Republicans and Republican leaners under 30 favor same-sex marriage while just 35% oppose it. By contrast, just 27% of Republicans ages 50 and older favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry.
This generation gap among Republicans comes against a backdrop of rapidly changing public opinion overall on the issue. More than half the public (54%) now favors allowing gays and lesbians to legally marry, a record high in Pew Research surveys, in keeping with findings from other recent polls. Democrats and Republicans remain on opposite sides of the issue, with 69% of Democrats and Democratic leaning independents favoring same-sex marriage compared with 39% Republicans and Republican leaners.
The relative liberalism of young Republicans on issues of homosexuality goes beyond their support for gay marriage. Just 18% of Republicans under 30 say “more gay and lesbian couples raising children” is a bad thing for American society, while 26% say it is a good thing (56% either say it doesn’t make a difference or they don’t know). By comparison, majorities or pluralities of older Republicans say this trend is a bad thing for society.