As support for gay marriage continues to grow, 72% of Americans say that legal recognition of same-sex marriage is “inevitable.” This includes 85% of gay marriage supporters, as well as 59% of its opponents. The new survey by the Pew Research Center finds that, for the first time, just over half (51%) the public favors same-sex marriage, while 42% are opposed. Since the early 1990s, the number of people who know gays or lesbians has risen dramatically, and having a gay acquaintance is associated with support for gay marriage. Yet opposition to gay marriage remains substantial, and religious beliefs are a major factor in opposition. For instance, those who view homosexual behavior as a sin – 45% of the public – overwhelmingly oppose gay marriage, as do those who see a major conflict between homosexuality and their own religious beliefs. PP_13.06.06_gayMarriage-Info

More from the Pew Research Series: LGBT in Changing Times