The annual Values and Beliefs poll by opinion group Gallup shows a growing approval of gays and lesbians. The poll found near universal support of equal rights for gays and lesbians in terms of job opportunities and a majority accept homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle.

There was near universal support (89%) for equal job opportunities for gays and lesbians, with only 8% of respondents disagreeing.

The poll also found a high-degree of acceptance for gays and lesbians. When asked if homosexuality should be considered an “acceptable alternative lifestyle” a majority (57%) of respondents agreed. The question first appeared in 1982 when only 34% of those surveyed agreed. Agreement dipped in the summer of 2003 after the Supreme Court struck down a Texas sodomy law to 54%, but has since increased to 57% in 2007, where it remains today.

Yet, Americans were more ambivalent towards gay marriage. And they have reached a deadlock on the morality of homosexuality.

On the critical issue of gay marriage, attitudes have budged little since 2004 when 42% said they should be valid. In 2008, the poll found slightly lower support at 40%.

America finds itself equally divided over the morality of homosexuality, with 48% considering it morally acceptable and 48% opposing it. The opinion came to a dead heat when those who find homosexuality immoral dropped from 53% in 2001, while acceptance rose from 40%.

“Homosexuality emerges as the most divisive of 16 major social and cultural issues measured,” the Gallop team wrote in reporting the results.

About 1,000 adult Americans were asked to participate in the poll, which was conducted between May 8-11, 2008.