A recent study by the PEW Research Center shows that seven in ten Americans born after 1980 believe that gay and lesbian couples should have the right to marry legally.
Gen X, born between 1965 and 1980, are at a 49 percent acceptance rate. The baby boomers, from 1946 to 1964, are at 38 percent. Those from what is known as the “silent” generation, born between 1928 and 1945, sit at 31 percent.
The numbers indicate a sharp rise in acceptance across all age groups, but the millennial generation shows a definitive shift in how the youth have embraced the LGBT community.
“The rise in support for same-sex marriage over the past decade is among the largest changes in opinion on any policy issue over this time period,” says analysts in describing the findings of the poll. “A new national survey finds that much of the shift is attributable to the arrival of a large cohort of young adults – the Millennial generation – who are far more open to gay rights than previous generations.”
Researchers also asked those polled who said that their views regarding gay marriage had changed why they shifted on the issue. The majority said it came from knowing someone – a friend, family member, or acquaintance – who is gay or lesbian.
Others said their personal views had changed as they thought about the issue or simply as they grew older. One-in-five said they changed their minds because the world has changed and the shift is inevitable. The same number said they had come to believe that people should be free to choose what makes them happy, and the government had no place in that decision.