Support for same-sex marriage in the US stalls

A lesbian couple marries in South Carolina in 2014 as support for same-sex marriage in the US has stalled.

Support for same-sex marriage in the US has stalled in the past two years, polling from the Pew Research Center indicated.

More than 1,500 American citizens were surveyed on their attitudes to same-sex marriage in across five days in March.

Results of the polling, published on Tuesday (May 14), indicated no overall major change from the latest survey on the issue.

In 2017, 62 percent of Americans expressed support for same-sex marriage—the highest percentage on record—while 32 percent opposed it. In 2019, that divide has remained the same, with 61 percent approving of same-sex marriage and 31 percent disapproving.

The finding is confirms a reversal in attitudes towards same-sex marriage expressed just 15 years ago, when 60 percent of Americans were against it and only 31 percent were for it.

Attitudes to same-sex marriage across segments of the American population have polarised

Differences along party lines have remained largely unchanged from 2017—roughly three-quarters of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents support marriage equality, but fewer than half of Republicans and Republican leaners do.

Deepening divisions among segments of the American population emerge instead when looking at attitudes to same-sex marriage across age and gender.

Support for same-sex marriage among US men has fallen from its peak 60 percent two years ago to 57 percent—which is still the second-highest number on record. Among women, instead, support has increased from 64 to 66 percent.

Support for same-sex marriage has decreased among US men but increased among US women.

Support for same-sex marriage has decreased among US men but increased among US women. (Steffi Loos/Getty)

Attitudes to marriage equality vary across generations. While people belonging to the so-called Silent Generation born between 1928 and 1945 record overall the lowest level of support for same-sex marriage, it is also the generation that has registered the largest increase in support for same-sex marriage, from 41 percent two years ago to 45 percent now.

Support for same-sex marriage instead fell among Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) and Generation X (born between 1965 and 1980) by 5 and 7 percentage points respectively.

Now only 51 percent of Baby Boomers and 58 percent of Generation X Americans express support for marriage equality, while among Millennials support remained unchanged since 2017, at 74 percent.

When looking at religious affiliations, support for same-sex marriage has fallen across the Christian denominations polled. Even among those who do not express any religious affiliation support for marriage equality has fallen from 85 percent in 2017 to 77 percent in 2019.