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pew-pollA new study by the Pew Research Center takes a look at what’s caused the major shift in support for marriage equality in America and the closet door falling off its hinges has had the greatest impact.

The Washington Post reports:

The most commonly cited reason for the change of heart — offered by one in three respondents — is that they know someone who is gay.  Interestingly, that’s the reason Ohio Sen. Rob Portman gave for his decision to come out in support of gay marriage recently; Portman’s son, Will, told his parents two years ago that he is gay.

Other regularly-mentioned reasons for changing opinions on gay marriage include “grown more open/thought about it more” (25 percent), “it’s inevitable” (18 percent) and “everyone is free to choose” (18 percent).

According to the study, a poll conducted in 2003 found that 58% of Americans opposed legalizing gay marriage, compared to 33% in favor. 10 years later, a survey by Pew found the scales significantly tipped, with 49% in favor and 44% opposed.

Another reason for the change is strong support among Millennials — people of voting age born after 1980 — who now make up a larger percentage of the adult population (27%). Their views have also evolved over the past ten years, with 51% in favor of gay marriage in 2003 and 70% in favor today.

Democratic media consultant Doc Sweitzer cites another reason all together for the shift in attitudes towards same-sex marriage.

“Television,” Sweitzer wrote in an email to The Post. “It’s the greatest socializing tool of all time. Archie Bunker changed attitudes about race and the generational divide. Gays are portrayed in all kinds of shows in a positive light, from Law and Order to CSI. They are shown as people who just want to live their lives.”

So thanks for tuning in, America.

You can read the full Pew report here.

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