A majority of people in 17 states now support giving gay and lesbian couples the right to marry.

According to a special reported titled Polling Shows Americans Support LGBT People On All Issues released Wednesday by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest gay rights advocate, support for gay marriage has increased in all 50 states.

“While the American people embrace their LGBT friends and neighbors, government remains a lagging indicator of acceptance,” HRC President Joe Solmonese said in a statement. “The numbers don't lie. Americans want equal rights for LGBT citizens and lawmakers should heed their call.”

Citing research conducted at Columbia University, the report's authors found that as recently as 2004 such unions did not have majority support in any state, and only 3 states in 2008.

But in 2010, 17 states turned the corner, including Delaware (50%), Nevada (50%), Maryland (51%), Pennsylvania (51%), Oregon (52%), Colorado (52%), Washington (54%), Hawaii (54%), Maine (55%), New Jersey (55%), New Hampshire (55%), California (56%), Connecticut (57%), New York (58%), Vermont (59%) and Rhode Island (60%).

Not surprisingly, the highest majority (62%) was found in Massachusetts, the first state to legalize the institution in 2005.

According to a 2008 statistical report compiled by Nate Silver of the New York Times, another 10 states – including Iowa – are predicted to cross the 50% threshold by 2013.

Five mostly New England states – New Hampshire, Iowa, Connecticut, Vermont and Massachusetts – and the District of Columbia have legalized the union.

Majorities also exist in all three states – Maryland, Rhode Island and New York – where lawmakers are considering legalizing such unions.

Utah scored the lowest out of the 50 states, with only 22 percent in favor of gay marriage. However, that's an increase of 10% over 16 years.

The report also shows a near universal majority of people (89%) believe gay and lesbian Americans should have equal rights in terms of job opportunities.