The number of secular people who support marriage equality is at an all-time high, but the number of religious people in favor of same-sex marriage is growing steadily, too, according to data compiled by the Pew Research Center.
As a part of its “LGBT in Changing Times” series, Pew has been monitoring changing opinions on marriage equality in the United States and internationally. Results from the U.S.-based study of 1,500 adults found:
Among people who are religiously unaffiliated, a solid majority have supported same-sex marriage since 2001… and among Catholics and white mainline Protestants, roughly half now express support for same-sex marriage. Support among white evangelical and black Protestants remains lower than among other groups.
A quick breakdown of the numbers, as aggregated by The Advocate:
- 56% of people said same-sex marriage “goes against their religious beliefs.”
- 54% of Catholics support marriage equality, up from 40% in 2001.
- 55% of Protestants support marriage equality, up from 38% in 2001.
- 23% of white Evangelicals support marriage equality, up from 13% in 2001 (and mostly increasing in the last four years).
- 74% of unaffiliated Americans support marriage equality.
Furthermore, for those of us who are LGBT, coming out to friends and family (especially those who are religious and/or conservative) proves more important than ever in changing hearts and minds:
A third of the people who participated in the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life said their minds changed on marriage equality because someone they know — either family, friend, or other acquaintance — came out to them as LGBT. Equal percentages of people, 18%, said they now support marriage equality because it’s either inevitable and the world is changing, or because they think the government should no longer dictate marriage on a personal level.
Certainly, that’s a key reason cited by both President Barack Obama and (Republican) Senator Rob Portman when making their announcements supporting marriage equality.
As always, there’s no comparison between secular and religious individuals when it comes to marriage equality — we win every time! — but it’s still worth noting that religious folks are slowly changing their minds, seemingly with every new survey. This can only be a good sign.