clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Slowly but surely, Republicans are coming around to same-sex marriage

A majority of Republicans no longer oppose marriage equality.

The American and LGBTQ Pride flags. Chris Ratcliffe/Getty Images

For the first time in the Pew Research Center’s polling, a majority of Republicans no longer oppose same-sex marriage.

Pew’s latest poll, which surveyed more than 2,500 adults earlier in June, found that support for marriage equality has grown — even among groups that were previously staunchly opposed to same-sex marriage rights, including members of the GOP.

Although Republicans are still more likely to oppose marriage equality than favor it, Pew found that a majority — meaning more than 50 percent — no longer oppose it.

“For the first time, a majority of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents do not oppose allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally,” Pew noted. “Today, 48% of Republicans and Republican leaners oppose same-sex marriage, while 47% favor this. As recently as 2013, Republicans opposed gay marriage by nearly two-to-one (61% to 33%).”

Pew Research Center polling on same-sex marriage, by party.

There were similar findings for baby boomers, according to Pew: “For the first time, a majority of Baby Boomers favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally. Currently, 56% of Boomers favor same-sex marriage, while 39% are opposed. Last year, opinion among Boomers was divided (46% favored/48% opposed).”

Not everyone has come around to marriage equality. As Pew noted, white evangelical Protestants are still mostly opposed — with 59 percent opposing marriage rights for same-sex couples. Although support among younger white evangelicals (particularly millennials and Gen X-ers) grew from 29 percent in March last year to 47 percent in the latest poll, there has been virtually no movement among older white evangelicals, who reported 26 percent support this year and 25 percent the year before.

Still, the overall findings show just how far and quickly public opinion has swayed in favor of marriage equality — a trend cemented by the Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling legalizing same-sex marriages nationwide.

It’s not just the polling, either. In 2004, President George W. Bush ran on a proposal to adopt a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as between a man and a woman. In the 2016 presidential election, the issue got little attention — with the Republican nominee, Donald Trump, saying it’s “done” and that he’s “fine with that.” The latest polling suggests that Trump was merely reflecting the shifting views of his party.

Sign up for the newsletter Today, Explained

Understand the world with a daily explainer plus the most compelling stories of the day.