ATLANTA — Support of same-sex marriage reaching an all-time high among Americans, according to a new Gallup poll.
Trey Toler said growing up, he never imagined he would get married, being a gay man during a time when same-sex marriage wasn’t legal.
It was almost exactly six years ago that it was legalized here in Georgia and all 50 states, in a Supreme Court ruling.
Toler has been with his partner Michael, an 11Alive sales manager, for eight years. He said the advocacy work in Georgia and progress are encouraging
“My relationship with my partner, externally, I feel like receives the same level of respect that a heterosexual couple receives as a serious commitment,” said Toler.
The newly released Gallup poll shows support for same-sex marriage sits at 70 percent in favor among people polled. When the polling first started in 1996, only 27 percent people supported it.
Tim Holbrook, a law professor at Emory University and long-time advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, believes it’s because more people now openly identify as LGBTQ+
“I think it is just part of the process that LGBTQ people are generally not born into their communities so when we come out, we’re impacting those around us,” he said.
Toler said he’s experienced that personally, having people in his life see him for who he is – an openly gay man.
“People that came around and are supportive of me and my relationship with my partner, that stigma was broken down because they experienced me as a human being and as a person,” he said.
Holbrook said the support and legalization is now there but they’ll continue spreading awareness against LGBTQ+ discrimination.
“I think that it means that the queer community just becomes part of the tapestry of American culture and American life in a way that is inclusive and welcoming,” he said.
The poll also found people Gallup included who identify as Republicans are supporting same-sex marriage at the highest rate ever at 55 percent.
“It’s vital and a little surprising, pleasantly surprising. I do think it speaks volumes to who we are as Americans that what matters as people is what’s in our hearts,” said Holbrook.
In 2015, when same-sex marriage was legalized, the poll shows only 40 percent of conservative Americans supported it compared to 79 percent of Democrats who supported it that same year.