A poll released Monday by Gallup shows a majority of Americans accepting of gay men and lesbians.

Gallup's latest Values and Beliefs Poll released Monday found 52% of Americans now say gay and lesbian relationships are “morally acceptable,” a 12% increase since 2006, the first year the question was asked.

It is the first time ever that Americans' support for being gay has crossed the 50% threshold.

Relationship expert Stacey Nelkin, co-author of You Can't Afford to Break Up: How an Empty Wallet and a Dirty Mind Can Save Your Relationship, called the poll's results “a huge breakthrough.”

“Some of the most stable couples my husband and I know are gay men and lesbian women,” she said. “They seem to be able to embrace any differences they, as individuals have, a bit better than many of their heterosexual counterparts.”

The number of respondents that say gay relationships are “morally wrong” has significantly decreased as well, down 4 percentage points from last year to 43%.

The poll found large jumps in acceptance among moderates and liberals, but conservatives' acceptance continues to lag behind.

The same poll found opposition to the legalization of gay marriage decreased slightly, from 57% last year to 53%, while support has increased, up 4 percentage points from last year to 44%.

“There is a gradual cultural shift under way in Americans' views toward gay individuals and gay rights,” the poll's authors say. “While public attitudes haven't moved consistently in gays' and lesbians' favor every year, the general trend is clearly in that direction.”

The poll's results are based on 1,029 telephone interviews with adults conducted during the first week in May.