Quinnipiac Poll of Virginians on Marriage Equality–Including Catholics
Washington.CBSLocal.com reports that a recent poll from Quinnipiac University found
“Fifty percent of registered Virginia voters support same-sex marriage compared to 43 percent who don’t, with a clear majority of women approving it.”
Among the statistics for sub-groups in the poll were those for Catholics in the state:
“Catholics favored gay marriage 56 percent to 40 percent, while Protestants opposed it 57 percent to 36 percent. Among those who identified themselves as born-again evangelicals, 74 percent opposed it.”
U.S. Catholics Disagree with Vatican on Homosexuality
The above sub-head is starting to sound a little bit like the proverbial “Dog Bites Man” headline because such news is becoming so commonplace. Yet another poll, this one from the Pew Research Center, shows that U.S. Catholics do not support the Vatican’s opposition to LGBT equality.
“While the Catholic Church officially maintains that homosexual relations are sinful, many Catholics in the U.S. have a more accepting view. A recent survey by the Pew Research Center found that more than seven-in-ten U.S. Catholics (71%) say homosexuality should be accepted by society. Just a third (33%) say they believe homosexual behavior is a sin, down from nearly half who said this in 2003. However, fully half (54%) of American Catholics say there is at least some conflict between their personal religious beliefs and homosexuality, with 42% saying there is ‘a lot’ of conflict.”
Are Catholics the Reason for Marriage Equality in New England?
All six New England states have marriage equality laws. That’s almost half of the 13 states plus the District of Columbia which allow marriage for lesbian and gay couples. Could the reason be because there are so many Catholics in those states?
The Public Religion Research Institute released a report this year as Rhode Island was enacting marriage equality. The report notes, among other things, that Catholics, a significant population bloc in those states, also have a strong record of supporting marriage equality:
“New England has a low percentage of groups opposed to same-sex marriage. Only 7% of New Englanders identify as white evangelical Protestants, compared to nearly 1-in-5 (18%) Americans overall. Only 24% of white evangelicals favor same-sex marriage (71% are opposed). Black Protestants, who also oppose same-sex marriage (37% favor, 57% oppose), are also underrepresented in New England compared to the national population (3% vs. 8%). Instead, Catholics (30%), mainline Protestants (22%), and Jews (6%) are overrepresented among New Englanders, and majorities of these groups favor same-sex marriage (57%, 55%, and 81%, respectively). In addition, 1-in-5 (21%) New England residents are religiously unaffiliated, a figure that’s similar to the rest of the country. More than three-quarters (76%) of religiously unaffiliated Americans favor same-sex marriage.”
It looks like Catholics are going to continue to be key figures in marriage equality and other LGBT equality debates for years to come.
–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry