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Republicans Divided On Same-Sex Marriage

A majority of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents are in favor of same-sex marriage for the first time in over two decades of polling, according to a new survey.

The Pew Research poll, conducted between June 8 and 18, found that 51 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents support same sex marriage.

A slight majority among Republicans, 48 percent to 47 percent, continue to oppose gay marriage.

The survey was released on the second anniversary of the Supreme Court's ruling guaranteeing marriage equality rights for same-sex couples. The court voted 5-4 in the case Obergefell v. Hodges.

"No longer may this liberty be denied," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion, according to the New York Times. "No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were."

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Two years on, support for gay marriage across a number of demographics has risen. Conservative baby boomers backed gay marriage for the first time, by 56 percent to 39 percent.

Support for marriage equality is stronger among younger generations. Americans aged 18 to 36 supported it by 74 percent to 23 percent, while those aged 72 to 89 were the only age group to oppose it (49 percent to 41 percent).

The poll was released the same day the Supreme Court agreed to hear a case involving a Colorado baker who refused to serve a same-sex couple on religious grounds.

The court will review a lower court ruling that found Jack Phillips had violated the law by refusing to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple at his bakery.

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In his appeal, Phillips alleges that the state of Colorado has violated his free speech and religious rights under the Constitution. Colorado offered him a "stark choice," Phillips said, according to Bloomberg. "Either use your talents to create expression that conflicts with your religious beliefs about marriage, or suffer punishment under Colorado's public accommodations law."

Charlie Craig and David Mullins, the couple refused service by Phillips, called on the Supreme Court to dismiss Phillips' appeal without a hearing.

"The right to the free exercise of religion does not include a right to disobey neutral and generally applicable laws, including non-discrimination laws," court papers from Craig and Mullins stated.

The case will be heard during the court's term due to begin in October. Neil Gorsuch, a Colorado resident appointed to the Supreme Court by Donald Trump, will be one of the justices hearing the arguments.

Sources: Huffington Post, New York Times, Bloomberg / Photo credit: Elvert Barnes/Wikimedia Commons, Alan Light/Wikimedia Commons, Tom Harpel/Wikimedia Commons

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