A majority of gay marriage opponents believe its legalization is inevitable.

According to a Pew Research Center poll of 1,505 adults released Thursday, 72 percent of Americans say legal recognition is inevitable.

This figure includes 85 percent of supporters and 59 percent of opponents, according to the survey.

“As more states legalize gay marriage or give equal status, the question in our minds was how the public sees the trajectory on this issue,” said Michael Dimock, the report's lead author and the director of the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. “Do they see a future in which gay marriage is going to be the rule, not the exception, in American society?”

Fifty-one percent of respondents said they favor allowing gay couples to legally marry.

Republicans (73%) are just as likely as Democrats (72%) or independents (74%) to view such unions as inevitable, despite the fact that the survey found little support among Republicans (31%).

Pollsters also found that the number of parents stating that they would be “very upset” to learn that their child is gay has plummeted from 64 percent in 1985 to just 19 percent today. And the number saying they would be “not upset” has increased from 9 percent in 1985 to 55 percent today.