The young members of the Republican party hold differing beliefs about same-sex marriage than their older counterparts, as they join the increasing number of Americans who support allowing gay people the right to wed.
More than half -- 61% -- of conservatives ranging in age from 18 to 29, said they favor gay marriages, according to a Pew Research Center poll published Monday. Comparably, a mere 27% of conservatives older than 50 said they felt similarly.
Seventy-seven percent of young respondents who identified themselves as Democrats agreed to gay and lesbian marriages. Not far behind in support were 66% of liberals between the ages of 50 and 64 who agreed.
The number of states where gay couples can marry has increased from one to 17, plus Washington, D.C., since 2004. A total of 69% of all Democrats and 39% of all Republicans accept same-sex marriages, according to the new Pew Research poll conducted between Feb. 14 and 23.
Fifty-nine percent of Americans of varying ages recently said they favor marriage equality, a record high measured in a poll earlier this month that indicated a more tolerant country. Just 38% supported gay and lesbian couples the right to wed in findings published 10 years ago.
Additionally, 56% of Republicans younger than 30 said they were neutral or didn't know their opinions about gay and lesbian couples raising children, according to the poll.
A Pew Research report published last June revealed younger respondents are most tolerant of homosexuality than older individuals. Most of the younger generation, known as "millennials," vote Democratic and favor distinctly liberal views. They tend to support various social issues ranging from an activist government to same-sex marriage.
In a move consistent with his forward-thinking ways, Pope Francis expressed his desire for the Catholic Church to study the reasons some states across the country have chosen to favor civil unions for gay individuals.