The Pulse of Equality survey conducted by Harris Interactive reveals huge gains for gays and lesbians in the areas of adoption, open service in the military and recognition of gay unions.

The survey released today and commissioned by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) shows a majority of Americans disagree with discrimination against gays.

Over 2,000 adults over the age of 18 were contacted between November 13-17 by telephone for the 15 minute survey.

A large majority (75%) favor legal recognition of gay unions (either marriage or civil unions/domestic partnership), with only about 2 in 10 (22%) preferring no recognition at all. Gay marriage was supported by nearly half of the respondents (47% favor to 49% oppose). Evangelical Christians are most likely to opposed gay marriage (71%).

Support for the military's ban on gay personnel serving openly continues to deteriorate. The survey found nearly two-thirds (64%) of adults favor allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the armed forces. Currently, gays are not allowed to serve in the military openly, but over 100 retired generals and admirals recently called for an end to the fifteen-year-old policy known as “don't ask, don't tell” and signed into law by former President Bill Clinton. President-elect Barack Obama says he supports repeal of the gay ban.

And nearly 7 out of 10 adults (69%) oppose laws banning gay couples from fostering or adopting children.

Arkansas voters created such a prohibition on Election Day when they agreed that only married couples may foster or adopt a child. Gay marriage is forbidden in the state. Adoption by gays and lesbians is prohibited in Florida, but a judge there recently ruled the law unconstitutional and gave a gay couple custody of two children they had fostered for four years.

Gay advocates said the positive results were a direct result of increased visibility.

“The visibility of the past several years, and the intense conversations of the past few weeks, seem to have galvanized a majority of American's support for equality for gay and transgender Americans,” said GLAAD President Neil G. Giuliano.

“Majorities of Americans clearly favor equality for gay and transgender people,” Giuliano added, “but we've seen that too many still mistakenly believe that the intolerance and injustice we face are things of the past. So it's more vital than ever that we tell our stories, illustrate the injustices we face, and remind people of the common ground we share.”