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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, March 25, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 12
U.S. Catholics support marriage equality, new poll says
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U.S. Catholics support marriage equality, new poll says

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff writer

A new ABC News/Washington Post poll released March 18 says that a large majority of U.S. Catholics support civil marriage for same-sex couples.

The poll, conducted by Laver Research Associates, indicates that 53% of Americans in general support same-sex marriage. For Roman Catholics, the number jumps to 63%.

The new finding is an astounding increase from the last Laver poll on marriage equality, done in 2004.

In the 2004 poll, 32% of Americans overall and 40% of Roman Catholics supported marriage equality.

The poll also shows that Roman Catholics consistently support same-sex marriage more than either Evangelicals or other Protestants.

Of respondents who identified as Evangelicals, only 23% said they supported same-sex marriage.

Non-Evangelical Protestants polled higher than the national average, at 57% support, but they still fell six points shy of the 63% of Catholic support.

The poll's findings put U.S. Catholics at odds with Pope Benedict XVI and their own bishops.

Newly elected president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York has been an outspoken opponent of marriage equality and LGBT rights in general.

Catholics for Equality, a group supporting LGBT rights, was pleased by the poll, however.

'The findings of today's poll are heartening, but not surprising,' said Catholics for Equality Executive Director Phil Attey. 'American Catholics consistently poll higher on progressive social justice issues - including the freedom to marry for all. Our Catholic faith tradition is strongly based on social justice and our duty to take care of those who are unjustly oppressed and marginalized.'

'Our families have already dealt with this issue at a personal level and Catholics largely base their moral understanding of the world through their personal relationships, not by the dictates of institutional forces; be they from our church hierarchy in Rome or conservative political groups. We see healthy, happy Gay and Lesbian families within our families, parishes and communities and we know love and commitment when we see it. On the issue of civil marriage equality, we Catholics support the freedom for Gay and Lesbian couples to marry. Period.'

'This is very consistent with a lot of other polling data we've seen and the general momentum we've seen over the past year and a half,' said Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry. 'As people have come to understand, this is about loving, committed families dealing, like everyone, with tough times; they understand how unfair it is to treat them differently.'

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