The Spike in Gay Marriage Support is Coming from an Unexpected Place

March 10th 2015

Alicia Lutes

America is coming around to equality, folks. In a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal co-poll, the outlets discovered that six in 10 Americans are in favor of "allowing gay and lesbian couples to enter into same-sex marriages." And it's all particularly exciting because its the highest level of support they've ever recorded. And you can thank Republicans for that.

In the new survey, released Monday, 59 percent of Americans said that they favor same-sex marriages, a number that, compared to other equality movements, came about surprisingly fast. According to Democratic pollster Fred Yang, "It took about 25 years for interracial marriage to get from 30 percent support to 60 percent. It took same-sex marriage 10 years." For comparison, 10 years ago in 2004, that 59 percent was at a mere 30 percent — a huge jump, comparatively speaking.

The biggest gains lie with Republicans, though, where there's been an increase in acceptance by 13 percent since only two years ago in 2013. While there's definitely a major split between Tea Party self-identifiers and not (24 versus 49 percent in favor, respectively), the number's rapid overall growth shows just how far social movements have come in regards to educating, increasing a general understanding — and overall acceptance — of non-heteronormative lifestyles.

As Sara Davis Buechner stated in The New York Times, "We clamor for our civil rights and are gaining respect and understanding. My generation has done its reading, listening, learning. Times are changing."

Rights that are becoming the norm in many states: currently 37 states allow same-sex marriage. Transgender activism is following a similarly rapid fire trajectory (compared to other older and/or more longstanding social equality movements like racism and sexism) — giving activists hope that it's only a matter of time.