As the Supreme Court debates the constitutionality of gay marriage issues and politician after politician comes out in support of same-sex marriage, a new poll (pdf) finds that a majority of Americans—53 percent—believe same sex couples should be able to marry and increasing numbers say they know someone who is gay.

Forty-two percent of respondents in the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll said they oppose gay marriage, and support and opposition largely broke along partisan lines, according to NBC's analysis. Some 73 percent of Democrats said they support same-sex nuptials, while 66 percent of Republicans were opposed. Fifty-four percent of independents were in support.

Seventy-nine percent of adults surveyed said they know or work with someone who is gay or lesbian—a sharp increase from December poll figures that showed 65 percent of respondents knew someone who was gay or lesbian.

But the adults surveyed said that a personal connection doesn't influence their viewpoint. Fifty-eight percent of those surveyed who said they know someone who was gay or lesbian said it doesn't influence their support or opposition to gay marriage. Fifteen percent said it did make them more likely to support it, and 4 percent said it made them less likely to support it.