Gallup's latest findings indicate 53% of Americans do not believe same-sex marriage should be recognized as valid by law, while 44% believe it should. In 2009, 57% of Americans stated gay marriage should not be legal, while 40% said the opposite.
Opposition to gay marriage is now tied for the lowest level ever recorded by Gallup -- in 2007, 53% of Americans also said gay marriage should not be legalized. As far as support, 2007 also was a good year for marriage equality, with 46% voicing approval. Since then, support for marriage equality dipped before picking up this year.
Gallup's "bottom line" for its poll was thus: "Over time, Americans have become more accepting of legal same-sex marriage, and a growing number of subgroups now show majority support for it. However, religious and conservative segments of the U.S. population remain largely opposed -- even though their support for gay marriage has also increased in recent years. Because religious and conservative groups are larger than nonreligious and left-leaning groups in the United States, overall, more Americans remain opposed to, rather than in favor of, same-sex marriage."
When Gallup first asked about the legality of gay marriage in 1996, 68% of Americans were opposed and 27% in favor.