A Pew Research Center report released this week found that the trend of those who support same-sex marriage has hit an all-time high. A majority (57%) of those surveyed said they were in favor of allowing same-sex couples to legally marry.
Interestingly, the percent of independent voters in favor of legalizing same-sex marriages mirrored that of Democrats at 65 percent. Republicans are still unlikely to agree with the majority of Democrats and independents on the issue, but support for legalization amongst Republicans has grown almost 15 points since 2005.
From the Pew report:
…partisans are as divided on this issue as ever: Today, 65% of Democrats and an identical percentage of independents favor gay marriage; only about one third (34%) of Republicans do so. Growing shares of all three groups support same-sex marriage, yet the differences between Democrats and Republicans are as wide today as they were a decade ago.
However, most Americans, regardless of party affiliation, seem to be in agreement that the legal recognition of same-sex marriage is inevitable. According to the Pew survey, at least 70 percent of Democrats, Republicans, and independents all agreed with the idea that legalization was ‘inevitable.’
The study also marked the week that Arkansas Judge Wendell Griffen of Pulaski County ordered state officials to recognize over 500 marriage licenses that were issued to same-sex couples since May 2014. Last year, Arkansas’ State Supreme Court halted the distribution of such licenses even though gay couples continued to marry.
Judge Griffen’s ruling lies at odds with Arkansas’ functional ban on gay marriage. A constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman was ruled unconstitutional in 2014 by Judge Chris Piazza, but the state’s attorney general, Leslie Rutledge, has argued that a state statute that prevents county clerks from issuing licenses to gay couples is still in effect.
The judicial back and forth in Arkansas is a microcosm for legal battles happening across the country. Of the 13 states with bans on same-sex marriage, 8 currently are being challenged in court. Thirty-seven states currently recognize same-sex marriages.
The U.S. Supreme Court is staged to rule on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage bans before the end of June. What’s unclear, however, is whether or not the decision will vindicate the expectations of over 70 percent of American adults.