US: Catholics are more supportive of gay and lesbian rights than the general public

I must say this new report from the Public Religion Research Institute has taken me by surprise.

This research is US and Catholic specific.

Here’s the executive summary:

Catholics are more supportive of legal recognitions of same-sex relationships than members of any other Christian tradition and Americans overall. Nearly three-quarters of Catholics favor either allowing gay and lesbian people to marry (43%) or allowing them to form civil unions (31%). Only 22% of Catholics say there should be no legal recognition of a gay couple’s relationship.

When same-sex marriage is defined explicitly as a civil marriage, support is dramatically higher among Catholics. If 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 by 28 points, from 43% to 71%. A similar pattern exists in the general population, but the Catholic increase is more pronounced.

Beyond the issue of same-sex marriage, Catholic support for rights for gays and lesbian people is strong and slightly higher than the general public. Nearly three-quarters (73%) of Catholics favor laws that would protect gay and lesbian people against discrimination in the workplace; 63% of Catholics favor allowing gay and lesbian people to serve openly in the military; and 6-in-10 (60%) Catholics favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to adopt children.

Compared to the general church-going public, Catholics are significantly less likely to hear about the issue of homosexuality from their clergy, but those who do are much more likely to hear negative messages. Only about 1-in-4 (27%) Catholics who attend church services regularly say their clergy speak about the issue of homosexuality, but nearly two-thirds (63%) of this group say the messages they hear are negative.

Compared to other religious groups, Catholics are significantly more likely to give their church poor marks for how it is handling the issue of homosexuality. Less than 4-in-10 (39%) Catholics give their own church top marks (a grade of either an A or a B) on its handling of the issue of homosexuality.

Seven-in-ten Catholics say that messages from America’s places of worship contribute a lot (33%) or a little (37%) to higher rates of suicide among gay and lesbian youth.

Catholics overwhelmingly reject the idea that sexual orientation can be changed. Nearly 7-in-10 (69%) Catholics disagree that homosexual orientation can be changed; less than 1-in-4 (23%) believe that it can be changed.

A majority of Catholics (56%) believe that sexual relations between two adults of the same gender is not a sin. Among the general population, less than half (46%) believe it is not a sin (PRRI, Religion & Politics Tracking Survey, October 2010).

You can download the full report in PDF format here.

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4 Responses to “US: Catholics are more supportive of gay and lesbian rights than the general public”

  1. Gordon Says:

    This is because Catholics are well schooled in social justice issues.

  2. Roger Pearse Says:

    When I was at college, we had two kinds of catholics. There were those who called themselves catholics, and went to mass, but were sleeping with their girlfriends and swimming home from the bar in the evenings. These all came from Catholic homes. Then there were three Catholics who were Christians, who did none of this and were all committed to Christ.

    The explanation, in other words, is that “Catholic” includes a lot of people who aren’t Christians but take their values from the world.

  3. Catholics Are More Supportive of Gay Rights Than the General Public? » First Thoughts | A First Things Blog Says:

    [...] Echurch Blog) Comments [...]

  4. James Finnegan Says:

    It all comes down to an accurate understanding of what being Catholic in the true sense means. Small c catholics are secular relativists who have drank the cool aid of both the homosexual activists and the pro abortion on demand crowd. To them sadly their faith means little more than an occasional trip to church with those who are solid in their beliefs and temporarily in their lifes on occasion.

    Huge parallel here with the early stages of abortion. 1) before the information was gotten out, the so called catholics, not Catholics, bought into the “its my body, my choice” argument. Once the results of what this choice was all about, it changed dramatically to where polls all show more Pro Baby, and few Pro abortion.
    2) Sadly, at the start the Priests, ministers, Rabbi’s stayed silent. If they would have spoken out, abortion would never had succeeded in spite of Roe and Doe.

    This shows the entreme importance in answering the demands to destroy family, children and country through the destruction of marriage and the family unit, which has been the most important part of the success of the U.S. since its beginning in 1776.

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