WASHINGTON (ChurchMilitant.com) - A new national survey is showing that support for same-sex "marriage" is at an all-time high, including among Catholics, and for the first time in history, Republicans are evenly split on the issue.
On Monday, the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan fact tank specializing in demographic and public opinion research, released a study of the country's changing perspective on "marriage equality." Conducted June 8–18, the survey of more than 2,500 Americans produced startling results: The percentage of Americans embracing same-sex "marriage" is now at 62 percent, an unprecedented level. And among many demographic segments, acceptance has risen more sharply since the Supreme Court branded same-sex "marriage" a "right" in its 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges ruling.
Nearly every political, ideological and racial demographic is now majority-supportive. Perhaps the most striking finding of all: The rate of acceptance among America's Catholic population is 67 percent, higher than the national figure, and nearly double the rate among Evangelical Protestants (35%).
"Marriage equality" Catholics are now the majority inside the Church, and their numbers are climbing rapidly. In a June 2015
study released just before Obergefell
, Pew Research found that a majority of U.S. Catholics (56%) support legalization of gay marriage. In 2017, that figure was 11 percent higher, meaning that in just two years, more than 5 million U.S. Catholics turned away from the Church's position on the issue.
The trend among Catholic laity corresponds to swelling dissent within the ranks of the American clergy. Increasingly, priests and bishops publicly flout Church teaching on homosexuality. This spring alone, Cdl. Joseph Tobin of Newark, New Jersey gave his blessing to an LGBT pilgrimage and Mass at his cathedral; Fr. James Martin, S.J. released a gay-friendly book that was subsequently welcomed by high-ranking prelates, including in the Vatican; and Fr. John Duffell, pastor at Church of the Blessed Sacrament in New York, oversaw a benefit for two pro-gay groups, the Ali Forney Center and Lady Gaga's Born This Way Foundation.
The 2017 survey also reveals ballooning support among political and ideological segments traditionally opposed to marriage rights for same-sex couples, including Republicans. For the first time since Pew began studying the issue, among Republicans and those who lean Republican, those favoring same-sex "marriage" (47%) are practically tied with those opposed (48%).
Support is highest among Millennials (60%) and Generation Xers (51%). The majority of Republican Baby Boomers and Silents remain opposed, at 53 percent against and 62 percent against respectively. The favorability rate among moderate and liberal Republicans (63%) is far greater than that among conservative Republicans (39%).
Generationally, majorities of U.S. Millennials (74%), Generation Xers (65%) and Baby Boomers (56%) support gay marriage. With 41 percent of members in favor, only the Silent Generation (those born from 1928–1945) remains largely opposed.
Supporters, in fact, remain in the minority in only a handful of demographic segments. These include men 50 and over (49% in favor); those 65 and over (46% in favor); conservative Republicans and Independents (39% in favor); and white Evangelical Protestants (35% in favor).
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