It is almost becoming a commonplace to note that majorities of Catholics support LGBT equality. Poll after poll keeps confirming that fact. A recent poll approaches the idea of Catholic support from a unique angle that makes it newsworthy to report its results.
Elizabeth Tenety, editor of The Washington Post’s “On Faith” blog reports on a survey from the Barna Group which tracks how quickly Americans, and in particular religious Americans, have become supportive of LGBT equality. Tenety notes:
“Among the most consequential findings are dramatic changes in how Catholics and Protestants have changed their views on the definition of marriage. Catholics in particular demonstrated some of the most sizable shifts in their attitudes about homosexuality. “
Comparing survey results from 2013 with those from 2003, Barna found that Catholics have been the faith group to make the biggest advance in supporting LGBT equality. In 2003, 35% of Catholics were in favor of changing laws to allow more freedom for LGBT people. In 2013, that number soared to 57%. That’s a 22% advance, the highest of all the groups studied except for those who have no faith, who advanced 23% from 66% to 89%.
In 2003, 64% of Catholics agreed with the idea that marriage should be defined as between a man and a woman. In 2013, that number dropped to 54%, a 14% change, which, again, was the largest change of any group, without qualification.
In terms of accepting the morality of same-sex relationships, Catholics rose from 19% to 37%, an 18% increase, once again, the largest of any group.
You can look at the survey’s report here, and observe how Catholics fared compared to other Christians, people of faith, and the American population.
There are probably many reasons to explain these developments for Catholics. Greater visibility of LGBT people and families, particularly in faith settings probably is a major factor. As more and more LGBT people show up to parishes to become members, more and more Catholics are learning about the reality of their lives. Catholics, too, are increasingly viewing LGBT issues less as sexual topics and more as social justice concerns. They are seeing the broad scope of LGBT lives, and recognizing the inherenthuman dignity that LGBT people have.
What do you think? Why are Catholics becoming more supportive of LGBT equality? Offer your thoughts in the “Comments” section of this post.
–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry