(CN) – Public support for same-sex marriage is at its highest level ever, with Republicans virtually split on the issue, according to a Pew Research Center study released Monday.
By a margin of nearly 2-to-1, more Americans say they support the right of gays and lesbians to marry than express opposition, according to numbers released by the public polling institution.
The spike in gay marriage acceptance comes two years after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled it is illegal for states to refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
The spike is also very recent, as a majority of Americans opposed same-sex marriage in 2010, with 48 percent expressing disapproval and only 42 percent approving at the time.
The latest Pew poll indicates 62 percent of Americans support gay marriage with only 32 percent opposing, representing a significant turnaround over a mere seven-year period.
The gains in acceptance are seen across the demographic spectrum, with a majority of baby boomers and Republicans not expressing opposition to gay marriage for the first time since Pew began polling on the issue.
Among baby boomers, 56 percent expressed approval, where only 39 percent said they’re against gay marriage. As recent as last year, more baby boomers (48 percent) were against than for (46 percent.)
The same trend line follows for Republicans, who, along with Republican-leaning independent voters, did not see a majority of respondents express opposition to same-sex marriage for the first time. Only 48 percent expressed opposition, where 47 percent said they approved.
African Americans, who have long been less supportive of gay marriage when compared to whites, also see acceptance gains, with those who favor same-sex marriage gaining 12 percentage points up to 51 percent.
Finally, white evangelical Protestants, one of the only demographic categories with a majority that still expresses disfavor with gay marriage, with 59 percent opposed, still witnessed acceptance gains among its younger demographics.
Gen-Xers and Millennial evangelicals, people born after 1964, saw 47 percent in support, a marked increase up from 26 percent in March of last year.
Baby boomer evangelicals have shown virtually no change in attitudes toward gay marriage.
Support among Catholics, mainline Protestants and the religiously unaffiliated has all climbed above two-thirds, or 67 percent.
The Pew poll showed majority support for gay marriage across educational demographics, but college educated respondents showed the most support at 79 percent among those with postgraduate degrees and 72 percent support among those with bachelor’s degrees.