A Gallup poll released Tuesday shows Americans are divided on the issue of gay marriage.

Fifty percent of respondents said they support the legalization of gay marriage, while forty-eight percent disagree, and two percent don't know.

Support was down slightly from 53 percent in last year's annual Values and Belief's poll, but marked only the second time in Gallup's history tracking the question that at least half of respondents said they believe the government should recognize the unions of gay couples with marriage.

While majorities of Democrats (65%) and independents (57%) support marriage equality, support from Republicans decreased 6 percentage points, from 28 percent in last year's survey to 22 percent this year.

“The trend on Americans' attitudes on same-sex marriage has not followed an entirely consistent trajectory,” pollsters wrote in announcing their results. “While the percentage in favor increased to 46% in 2007, it slipped to 40% in the following two years. In somewhat similar fashion, last year's increase to 53% support has edged back down slightly this year to 50% – not a statistically significant change, but not a continued increase, either.”