A new survey report from the Public Religion Research Institute provides further evidence that Hispanics, especially Hispanic Catholics support marriage equality. The statistics in his report, however, provide a new view of the support that Hispanics have for this issue. While close to a majority feel that sexual relations between people of the same gender is immoral, a definite majority believe that marriage equality should be legal.
Here’s a description of the results from the report’s executive summary:
“A majority (55%) of Hispanics favor allowing gay and lesbian Americans to marry, compared to 43% who are opposed. . . .
“Hispanics appear willing to support allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry legally, even if they personally hold reservations about the morality of sex between two adults of the same gender. Hispanics are twice as likely to believe that sex between two adults of the same gender is morally wrong as believe it is morally acceptable (45% vs. 18%). Roughly one-third of Hispanics say either that it depends on the situation (8%) or that it is not a moral issue (26%). . . .
“Hispanics are sharply divided by religion on the issue of same-sex marriage. More than 6-in-10 (62%) Hispanic Catholics and 8-in-10 (80%) religiously unaffiliated Hispanics favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry. Hispanic mainline Protestants are divided, with 47% supporting same-sex marriage and 50% opposing it. In stark contrast, 8-in-10 (79%) evangelical Protestants oppose same-sex marriage, while just 1-in-5 (21%) support it. . . .
“A slim majority (51%) of Hispanic Catholics say it is possible to disagree with church teachings on the issue of homosexuality and remain a good Catholic, compared to 44% who say this is not possible.”
You can view the full report here.
This evidence proves the claim that many Catholics hold social justice as a more important value than sexual ethics in the discussion of LGBT issues. If a person disagrees morally with a person’s same-gender relationship but still defends that person’s right to have such a relationship, one obvious explanation is that sexual ethics are not considered paramount in the evaluator’s eyes.
In a sense, it shows that these Hispanics are living out Pope Francis’ famous remark: “Who am I to judge?”
Speaking of Pope Francis, Religion News Service highlighted another important piece of data from the report:
“The survey found that most Hispanics are delighted with Argentine-born Pope Francis, but they hold slightly less favorable views of the Catholic Church. While nearly 69 percent look favorably on the pope, only 54 percent see the institution in a favorable light.”
Catholic support for LGBT people in all quarters of the church is bound to continue to grow.
–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry
Los Angeles Times: Many Latino Catholics Back Gay Marriage, Survey Says.
Bondings 2.0: Catholic Latino Voters Support Marriage Equality, Oct. 22, 2012
Bondings 2.0: Strong Support for LGBT Issues Among Hispanics–Especially Catholics, April 18, 2012