The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, found that the public’s attitudes towards gay marriage have moderated slightly from 2003 and 2004.
Today, 36% of Americans favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry, up from 32% in December 2004. The percentage favoring gay civil unions has risen as well. Currently, 53% favor allowing gays and lesbians to enter into legal arrangements providing them with many of the same rights as married couples; that compares with 48% last August.
Support for gay marriage and gay civil unions has increased slightly among most religious groups. However, support for civil unions has increased significantly among white evangelical Protestants, from 26% in December 2004 to 35% today. This increase, however, is concentrated primarily among low-commitment evangelicals, a majority of whom now support civil unions.
There remain substantial divisions in views of gay marriage and civil unions across political groups. Nearly seven-in-ten liberals support gay marriage and eight-in-ten support civil unions, up from 59% and 70%, respectively in 2004. Among conservatives, however, support for gay marriage stands at 14%, and support for civil unions has actually declined slightly (from 35% in 2004 to 31% today).
Similarly, Democrats and independents are more supportive of gay marriage and civil unions today than they were a year ago, and remain much more supportive of both proposals than are Republicans.
In line with these findings, there has also been a slight decline (from 35% in August 2004 to 29% today) in the number of Americans expressing support for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.