What the Newest Generation of Republicans Thinks About Gay Marriage May Surprise You

What the Newest Generation of Republicans Thinks About Gay Marriage May Surprise You

Same-sex marriage may be a wedge issue right now between Democrats and Republicans, but it might not be for long. According to the latest Pew Research study, 61% of young Republicans said they would be in favor of marriage equality, marking a sharp contrast from the party's older members.

Just 22% of Republicans over the age of 65 said that they would support same-sex marriage, while 39% of all respondents who identified as Republican said the same.

The numbers were significantly higher for the Democrats, with 69% of Democrat-identifying respondents supporting same-sex marriage. In the 18-29 age group, 77% said they support marriage equality, as did 62% of those over 65, creating a much narrower point gap between the age groups than the Republicans.

Here is a detailed breakdown by age group:

Image Credit: Pew Research Center

On the question of whether gay and lesbian parents are bad for society, the breakdown looked similar, although more people chose to abstain from answering "yes" or "no":

Image Credit: Pew Research Center

What does this mean? The movement towards marriage equality looks more inevitable than ever. Among groups of every political affiliation, support for same-sex marriage has been consistently growing year-to-year. While it may seem convenient to paint Democrats as the pro-marriage equality party and the Republicans as the opposite, in the coming years, that dysfunction may well become obsolete.

And the parties' changing perceptions reflect the greater national trend towards recognizing same-sex marriage. Support for marriage equality is higher than ever, with 59% of Americans supporting the measure. While the percentage of conservatives who support same-sex marriage may still be low, that number is on the rise, and bodes well for the future of marriage equality in the U.S.

Image Credit: Pew Research Center

Image Credit: Pew Research Center

Image Credit: Pew Research Center

What is the impact of the Millennials? But perhaps most tellingly of all, the shift in opinion is being spearheaded by Millennials, who are statistically less likely to support institutions and conventions. This younger generation — Republican and Democrat alike — is not being held back by past ignorance or intolerance and is trying to push both parties towards a more progressive future. If the old guard wants to stay relevant and on the right side of history, they may do well to heed the younger generations' call.

Image Credit: Pew Research Center