Support for Same-Sex Marriage Has Doubled Since 1996

53 percent of U.S. adults now favor marriage equality.

In Gallup poll data out yesterday, 1,535 U.S. adults answered the question, "Do you think marriages between same-sex couples should or should not be recognized by the law as valid, with the same rights as traditional marriage?" 53 percent nodded; 45 percent scowled.

Here are the responses to that question graphed over the last 18 years:

Screen Shot 2013-05-14 at 10.58.27 AM.png

I don't think there should be two green lines on one chart. I just, don't think that's the way charts are meant to be. 

Despite a majority of Americans in favor, gay marriage is still only legal in 12 states, Minnesota having become the twelfth yesterday. The same people surveyed drastically underestimated the national picture, though: they guessed that 30 percent of Americans, not 53, are in favor. 

With the Supreme Court poised to rule on the Defense of Marriage Act, lest they end up on the wrong green line of history, justices might do well to consider that another 18 years at this rate will see approval for same-sex marriage at 104 percent.

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James Hamblin, MD, is a senior editor at The Atlantic. He writes the health column for the monthly magazine and hosts the video series If Our Bodies Could Talk.

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