Thirty-six percent of Americans say their views on gay marriage have changed significantly over time, and nearly three-fourths of those people say they now support such unions.

According to survey data collected by USA Today/Gallup, fifty-three percent of Americans approve of gay nuptials and even larger majorities support specific rights for gay men and lesbians.

Pollsters found 61 percent of respondents support adoption rights, 78 percent inheritance rights and 77 percent health benefits.

“They have changed from 'this is appalling' to, you know, 'what is wrong with that idea?'” Mary Ann Schmertz, 82, is quoted as saying. “Why should they be discriminated against? They're paying taxes. They're leading decent lives.”

Majority support for marriage equality is found in every age group except those 65 and older and in every region except the South.

Knowing someone gay or lesbian is given as a possible reason behind shifting attitudes.

“When you have a brother or sister or relation, a friend, whatever, it's a personal thing,” said Mike Haigerty, 49.

Nearly 50 percent of those opposed to marriage equality cited religious reasons.