The National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago says in addition to growing numbers of Americans who now approve of same-sex marriage, there is overwhelming support for basic civil liberties and freedom of expression for gays and lesbians, a university release said Wednesday.
Support for same-sex marriage has risen over the last two decades, going from 11 percent approval in 1988 to 46 percent in 2010, the NORC General Social Survey indicates.
The survey results show a clear "trend toward greater tolerance regarding homosexuality," said Tom W. Smith, director of the survey.
But different age groups weighed in differently on the question, he said.
"There is a large generation gap on the issue [of same-sex marriage]," Smith said.
While 64 percent of those under 30 back same-sex marriage, only 27 percent of those 70 and older support it, he said.
The report is based on findings of the latest survey conducted in 2010 with a cross sample of more than 2,000 people.