May 20, 2011 at 8:00 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
Poll sixth to find majority support for same-sex marriage

A new poll made public Friday found 53 percent of Americans favor marriage rights for gay couples, marking the sixth set of published results in the past few months finding majority support for same-sex nuptials.

The findings are based on Gallup’s May 5-8 Values and Beliefs poll. It found a nine-percentage-point increase in support for same-sex marriage since last year — the largest year-to-year shift measured since Gallup polled consistently on the issue since 2004.

Additionally, the poll was the first time Gallup findings showed support for marriage equality breaking the 50 percent mark.

According to the poll, the increase in support for same-sex marriage came exclusively from political independents and Democrats. The views of Republicans didn’t change.

Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, said the poll affirms that Americas are “thinking anew” on marriage — similar to how President Obama said his views could “evolve” to support marriage rights for gay couples.

“In conversations with their gay and lesbian neighbors, co-workers, and family members, and reflecting on their own values of fairness and respect, Americans have had the opportunity to learn about why marriage matters to same-sex couples and their families,” Wolfson said. “As they’ve heard the stories of loving and committed couples harmed by the denial of marriage and the safety-net it brings, their hearts have opened and minds have changed.”

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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