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A major new poll not only reveals some of the largest support ever seen for same-sex marriage in the United States, but also show how dramatic the reversal of public opinion has been in just the last ten years.

The new ABC News/Washington Post poll released today says that overall support for gay marriage is up to 58 percent, an all-time for the life of the poll. With the precentage of people saying it should be illegal at an all-time low, the popular opinions on the subject have completely resversed themselves from where they were just a decade ago.

Support for same-sex marriage has shot up nearly 11 percent in just the last three years, a change almost unthinkable for what was considered a highly-divisive social issue less than eight years ago. 

The poll has also seen a dramatic change in opinions about homosexuality itself, with less than a quarter of respondents today saying that homosexuality is a choice people make consciously.  The more a respondent believes that homosexuality is a choice, the more likely they are to strongly oppose the expansion of marriage rights. Twenty years ago that number was 40 percent. Now more 62 percent say it is "Just the way they are."

In another dramatic move, nearly 70 precent think the federal Constitution should trump state laws on the matter, though just as many opponents of gay marriage agree with that idea, believing that the now eight states (and counting) that allow same-sex unions should be forced to follow current national laws, the Defense of Marriage Act, that (if it isn't overturned this year) would continue to deny federal marriage benefits to same-sex couples.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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