Gay Pride
The Boy Scouts of America on Thursday said it has no plans to change its longstanding membership policy of not allowing gays and lesbians to openly serve in the organization. Flickr

Sixty percent of people have a family member or close friend who is gay or lesbian, according to a new CNN/ORC poll that tracked Americans' changing attitudes on LGBT people and rights.

The number has shown a steady increase over the past five years; in November 2010 and April 2009, 49 percent of respondents said they were close to a gay or lesbian person, and in August 2007, it was 45 percent. A similar CNN/Time poll from October 1998 showed 41 percent of people answered yes to the question, up from 32 percent in June 1994.

The positive trend corresponds with increasing support of same-sex marriage, lending to the theory that people are more likely to support LGBT rights if someone close to them is gay, lesbian or transgender.

Pro-gay rights publication The Advocate wrote the poll shows the power of coming out.

54 percent of participants in the nationwide poll said gay and lesbian couples' marriages should be recognized by the law, up from 53 percent in September 2011, 51 in April 2011, and 44 in 2009 and 2008.

The issue of same-sex marriage entered the spotlight when President Barack Obama said he was in favor of legalizing it in a May interview with ABC News. June is also Gay Pride month.