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Gallup Finds Majority of Americans Now Support Gay Marriage

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53 percent of the American public support legalizing gay marriage...

A rainbow flag flutters against the Central Presbyterian Church courtyard, across the street from the Georgia state capitol building where the National Organization for Marriage held a rally on Saturday, Aug. 8, 2010. The National Organization for Marriage -- a nonprofit that advocates marriage as the union between a man and a woman -- is on a month-long "Summer for Marriage Tour" to 23 U.S. cities to show support for the institution of marriage. The tour stopped at Atlanta for a rally on the state capitol steps. Meanwhile, across the street, supporters of gay-marriage rights gathered for a silent protest. (AP Photo/Atlanta Journal Constitution, Chris Dunn)

Today, Gallup released non-partisan research that shows majority support for gay marriage.  The poll found that 53 percent of the American public supports legalizing gay marriage "with the same rights as traditional marriages."  Forty-five percent of Americans stand opposed:

This year's nine-point increase in support for same-sex marriage is the largest year-to-year shift yet measured over this time period. Two-thirds of Americans were opposed to legalized same-sex marriage in 1996, with 27% in favor. By 2004, support had risen to 42% and, despite some fluctuations from year to year, stayed at roughly that level through last year.

Gallup isn't the only group to find this monumental shift in public opinion.  Another study conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute found that 51 percent favor legalizing gay marriage.  This particular study also found that 56 percent of the public favors legalizing adoption for gay and lesbian couples (36 percent oppose doing so).

Back in March 2011, ABC News and The Washington Post noticed the same pattern:

From a low of 32 percent in a 2004 survey of registered voters, support for gay marriage has grown to 53 percent today. Forty-four percent are opposed, down 18 points from that 2004 survey.

And back in April, a CNN/Opinion Research poll found that 51 percent of respondents support gay marriage.  As time progresses, values seem to be shifting.  Gallup noticed the same pattern when examining abortion back in 2009 (for the first time, the majority of Americans claimed that they were pro-life).

Only time will tell how demographics will continue to impact perceptions on these important social issues.  Take our poll:

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