A new poll released today finds a large majority of American Catholics — 71% — support civil marriage equality for same-sex couples. The report also finds that almost half of Catholics, 43%, support allowing gay couples to marry regardless of type of ceremony (civil or religious,) and 31% of American Catholics support allowing same-sex couples to have civil unions, and 74% believe that same-sex relationships should be accepted by society. Additionally, the report finds that a majority of American Catholics (56%) believe same-gender sexual relations is not a sin, as opposed to the teachings of their church.
The Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), which conducted this survey and calls it “the most comprehensive portrait of Catholic attitudes on gay and lesbian issues assembled to date,” last year found that sixty-five percent of Americans — a vast majority — blame churches for “higher rates of suicide among gay and lesbian youth,” after anti-gay bullying teen suicides became national news for weeks.
The PRRI poll also states that “Catholics are more supportive of legal recognitions of same-sex relationships than members of any other Christian tradition and Americans overall,” and “Catholic support for rights for gays and lesbian people is strong and slightly higher than the general public.” It stresses that when “marriage for gay couples is defined as a civil marriage ‘like you get at city hall,’ Catholic support for allowing gay couples to marry increases.”
Evidently, it is not Americas Catholics who are concerned about the Obama administration’s decision to no longer defend DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act, in court.
In a strong break with the radical extremists claiming to speak for them, the report finds that “nearly three-quarters (73%) of Catholics favor laws that would protect gay and lesbian people against discrimination in the workplace,” and therefore, would most-likely support some form of the current Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) that is expected to be re-introduced into Congress shortly.
Additionally, the report finds “63% of Catholics favor allowing gay and lesbian people to serve openly in the military,” again in opposition to the radical religious extremists claiming to speak for American Catholics, and “6-in-10 (60%) Catholics favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to adopt children,” an issue anathema to the anti-gay movement, and “traditional marriage” supporters like the National Organization for Marriage and hate groups like the American Family Association.
Last week Alfonso Aguilar, head of the ultra-conservative Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles, wrote in an op-ed on Fox News Latino, that Latinos “firmly believe that the dignity of the family should be defended at all cost, including, of course, the sanctity of marriage,” and claimed “President Obama’s reversal on marriage, therefore, is very upsetting to Latinos. It’s yet another disappointment from someone whom they thought they could trust.”
But the PRRI poll states that “Even among Latino Catholics, long supposed to be a group supportive of traditional social values, the numbers point to growing support for same-sex marriage.”
The report finds that the more America’s Catholics attend church, the less they favor same-sex marriage rights.
Overall, “The strong evidence of Catholic support for gay marriage highlights the growing acceptance in American culture of the normalcy of same-sex relationships,”according to Dr. Michelle Dillon of the University of New Hampshire, who adds, the PRRI report “further showcases ordinary Catholics’ dissent from official church teaching on sexual morality.”
(image: St. Patrick’s Cathedral)
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