- The Magazine
Support for marriage equality has reached an all-time high in the United States, with 7 out of 10 Americans saying they support allowing same-sex couples to legally wed, according to a new poll.
The poll, by the Public Religious Research Institute, was part of PRRI’s annual American Values Survey, which tracks attitudes about various social and political issues. According to the survey, the overwhelming majority of people in the United States — including both Democrats and Republicans, as well as adherents of most major religious denominations — support LGBTQ equality.
The 70% support level for marriage equality is the highest percentage ever recorded by a major national poll. Support substantially increased since 2019, when 62% of Americans supported marriage equality, and has dramatically increased since 2007, when only 36% of Americans supported marriage equality.
The poll shows that 80% of Democrats, 76% of independents, and even 50% of Republicans support same-sex marriage. Among religious groups, support is highest among white mainline Protestants, 79% of whom support marriage equality, followed by 78% of Hispanic Roman Catholics, 72% of religious non-Christians, 68% of Hispanic Protestants, 67% of white Catholics, 57% of Black Protestants, and 56% of other Christian denominations.
Nine in 10 religiously unaffiliated Americans are also supportive of same-sex marriage. The only group with a majority of adherents opposing same-sex marriage is white evangelical Protestants, but even 34% of that group supports same-sex unions.
The poll drops just after Pope Francis, the head of the Roman Catholic Church, was recorded in a documentary expressing support for same-sex civil unions and legal protections for same-sex couples. The pontiff’s comments mark a drastic departure from the church’s traditional teachings on homosexuality, which has previously viewed same-sex relationships as “intrinsically evil.”
It also comes as Amy Coney Barrett, a charismatic Catholic with strident conservative views on social issues, is poised to be confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Barrett was critical of the high court’s 2015 decision legalizing marriage equality nationwide — a view shared by Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, who have called to revisit the issue in order to “fix” the alleged threats that same-sex marriages pose to religious liberty.
The poll also reveals that 83% of Americans favor laws that would protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations, while only 16% of Americans oppose such laws. That number has risen from 72% just a year ago, with 94% of Democrats, 85% of independents, and 68% of Republicans favor nondiscrimination laws. The level of support for LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination laws exceeds 80% among most religious groups, and even 59% of white evangelicals support such measures.
“Our elected leaders and candidates for office should pay attention to this survey and listen to the people: strong majorities of Americans support marriage equality and nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people, full stop,” Geoff Wetrosky, the campaign director for the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement. “This support is broad and growing every year across political, religious, and ideological groups. The new PRRI survey proves that support for LGBTQ rights is no longer a wedge issue and that opponents of equality are the ones in the minority.”
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