A new survey reveals that a majority of Catholics oppose allowing small businesses to refuse service to gay and lesbian people because of a religiously held belief.
The data from the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) shows that 63% of Hispanic Catholics and 61% of White Catholics object to these religiously based refusals. When compared to the general American population, of which 61% oppose these refusals, the data shows what many pollsters have long observed: U.S. Catholics poll equivalently with the general population.
The survey examined the opinions of a wide range of religious traditions and found that a majority of almost all traditions opposed religious refusals. Unitarian/Universalists showed the greatest opposition, with 87% responding negatively to the idea. Mormons and Hispanic Protestants showed the smallest amount of opposition, with 52% of each responding negatively. The only group not showing a majority of opposition was White Evangelicals, with 42% responding negatively, 50% supporting religious refusals, and 8% undecided.
The same report also showed that a majority of religious Americans support marriage equality for lesbian and gay couples. Catholics showed greater support for marriage equality than the general U.S. population. While 58% of all Americans support marriage equality, 63% of White Catholics and 62% of Hispanic Catholics do so.
The PRRI report pointed out an interesting political phenomenon when it compared opposition to marriage equality with opposition to religious refusals. In five traditions surveyed which showed opposition to marriage equality–Black Protestants, Muslims, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Hispanic Protestants, and Mormons–a majority of each of these groups still opposed allowing religious refusals. The data suggests that religious people who do not support marriage equality still believe that gay and lesbian people should not face discrimination because of someone’s religious belief.
You can look at all the data by clicking here.
U.S. Catholic bishops have supported a broad campaign for a definition of religious liberty which allows for discrimination against LGBT people. Perhaps the bishops should pause from this campaign for a while and listen to the voices of the people in the pews on this issue.
–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry, February 8, 2017