A Gallup poll released Friday shows a narrow majority of Americans support giving gay and lesbian couples the right to marry.

Fifty-three percent of respondents said they support the legalization of gay marriage, while forty-five percent disagree, and two percent don't know.

Friday's poll was the polling group's first in 15 years to find opponents of the institution in the minority.

Gallup's survey finds a 9-point increase in support for gay marriage in its polling since last year.

“This most recent poll reaffirms that Americans have been listening and, in Lincoln's words, 'thinking anew' or, as President Obama would put it 'evolving.',” Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, said in a statement. “As they've heard the stories of loving and committed couples harmed by the denial of marriage and the safety-net it brings, their hearts have opened and minds have changed.”

While the poll found large increases in support among Democrats (13%) and independents (10%), Republican support for the institution remained unchanged at 28 percent from last year.

Younger Americans (18 to 34) also support gay marriage in greater numbers, 70 percent, while support dropped to 39% among those 55 and older.

“While big majorities of Democrats and young people support the idea of legalizing same-sex marriage, fewer than 4 in 10 Republicans and older Americans agree,” Gallup said in releasing its findings. “Republicans in particular seem fixed in their opinions; there was no change at all in their support level this year, while independents' and Democrats' support jumped by double-digit margins.”

The findings are in line with several recent nationwide polls, including those from cabler CNN, ABC News and The Washington Post, and The Associated Press, which found majority support for marriage equality.