"Nones," Mainline Protestants, and Catholics are still the most likely to support same-sex marriage, but the percentages are up for every religious group. (Shutterstock.com/ http://tinyurl.com/kvcjeze)

“Nones,” Mainline Protestants, and Catholics are still the most likely to support same-sex marriage, but the percentages are up for every religious group. (Shutterstock.com/ http://tinyurl.com/kvcjeze)

A slideshow study released this week by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life shows that “Americans’ opinions on same-sex marriage have changed markedly since 2001,” when 57% of the overall U.S. population said they opposed the practice. Now, the tide has shifted so that half of Americans favor the practice and only 43% do not.

Particularly interesting is how the study breaks out by generation (essentially, the younger you are, the more likely you are to support gay marriage), gender (women are more in favor than men), and religion.

The highest rates of approval come from the rising numbers of “nones” in America, those who claim no religious affiliation. Roughly three in four now approve of same-sex marriage, up from about three in five in 2001.

Screen shot of the Pew study released this week. The full slideshow can be seen at http://tinyurl.com/8ybqy5z.

Screen shot of the Pew study released this week. The full slideshow can be seen at http://tinyurl.com/8ybqy5z.

Support among evangelical Protestants, both white and black, is higher than in 2001 but not at the same levels as other religious groups. In 2001, just 13% of white evangelicals favored same-sex marriage; now 23% do. And 32% of black Protestants approve of the practice, up only slightly from 30% in 2001.

Catholics and white mainline Protestants are almost in lockstep on the issue, with just over half approving.

I would have been interested to see where Mormons fared on this spectrum, but they are not included. (For a very thorough 2012 Pew survey of Mormons in American life, though, see here.)

On the political side, Republicans have made much of needing to court the “independent voter,” but indies approve gay marriage at a rate matching Democrats and almost twice that of Republicans. So on this social issue at least, the Republicans will have a tough sell in wooing independent voters.

7 Comments

  1. Raymond Takashi Swenson

    I wonder how many of the people who are deeply committed religious believers are aware of the prosecutions that are taking place against people who declined to provide personal services to support same sex weddings because of a conscientious objection to their own participation. The Washington Attorney General is prosecuting the woman owner of a floral shop in Richland, Washington, because she declined to make spwecial floral arrangements for the same sex wedding of a customer. The customer had purchased flowers from her for nine years, she knew he was gay, and had no problem in simply selling him bouquets, but she declined to be involved in a same sex wedding by making custom arrangements for it. The gay couple was able to procure services from other companies, and presumably their marriage went off as planned, but they feel it is important to punish their longtime supplier of flowers for declining to endorse same sex marriage.

    America has a a long tradition of exempting persons with religious and moral convictions against participating in war from service as soldiers. Even after the US military became an all volunteer service in 1973, persons who convert to a pacifist religious belief have been allowed to resign from the military or be reassigned to duties compatible with their religious convictions until their enlistment expires.

    If America can afford to exempt people from defending us againsty our enemies in times of peril, surely we can afford to exempt people from participating in same sex marriages on the same grounds of religious conscience. In the case of the military, the very real harm to national defense is considered outweighed by the need to respect sincere religious beliefs, as enjoined upon us by the First Amendment. In the case of personal services supporting a same sex wedding, there is no evidence that the couples were actually injured by the declination of one person to be involved.

    Why is it so important to the enforcers of same sex marriage that government be used to punish anyone who refuses to endorse same sex marriage? When same sex couples are not being denied marriage per se, what harm does it do them to buy services from someone else who has no personal qualms? The action of the Washington Attorney General is nothing short of tyranny in the furtherance of thought control. He gave no consideration at all to the First Amendment as constraining his action. As the prosecution becomes more widely known, it is going to solidify opposition to same sex marriage, because it is not the status of homosexuals as legally married that threatens religious freedom, but the enforcement of a regime that cannot tolerate any dissent. It is the initiation of a new intolerance, a new Inquisition.

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