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Wednesday, January 16 2013

American Catholic Support for Equality is on the Rise!


Polling Chart



Recent surveys conducted by the Gallup Poll, the Pew Research Center, the General Social Surveys, the American Values Survey, and the National Election Exit Polls indicate the following trends[1]:

ACCEPTANCE OF HOMOSEXUALITY:  Catholics are the single most favorable Christian denomination toward LGBT acceptance in U.S. society: Gallup May 2010 poll shows that 62% believe homosexuality should be accepted by society -- up 16% from 2006.[2]  The most recent Marist poll commissioned by the Knights of Columbus indicates that Catholic Millennials have a 65% acceptance rate.  Catholics have shown the greatest increase of acceptance of gays over other religious groups.

This data indicates that Catholics are a key religious group in the debate toward the acceptance of basic common American freedoms and rights for their fellow LGBT family members, co-workers, and neighbors.  Catholics under 65 favor marriage equality and this number will increase year-by-year as these younger Catholics continue to shape public opinion toward full civil and human rights for gays and lesbians.

As we look at this data we see that Catholics serve as a very important “moveable middle” on key socio-political issues.  For example 62% of Catholics believe in the acceptance of homosexuality while 48% would vote for marriage equality.  Both numbers are rising as younger age cohorts grow in age, so that we can see in a few short years that Catholics will provide majority opinion on every major issue facing the LGBT community.  Catholics for Equality aims to provide the research and political acumen to achieve these majorities by concentrating on the “moveable middle” of ordinary Catholics.

A majority of Americans, including 60% of American Catholics, support ENDA and other legislation prohibiting discrimination against the LGBT community in the workplace.[6]

78% of all Americans are for the repeal of “Don’t ask, don’t tell.”[4]  Given the high acceptance of gays by Catholics and their desire to offer same-sex partner legal recognition, it is not surprising that in 2006 66% of Catholics are in favor of gays and lesbians serving in the military.[5]

59% of Catholics favor adoption of children by gays and lesbians who “meet all legal qualifications” for adoption.[3]


  • 69% of Catholics favor the legalization of the basic rights accorded to married heterosexual couples for gays and lesbians in long-term committed relationships, such as hospital visitation rights, health insurance, and pension coverage.  This is a significant statistic compared to 63% of mainline Christians, 36% of white evangelicals, and 44% of black Protestants.
  • 48% of Catholics accept full marriage equality, while 46% are opposed. 60% of Catholics 18 to 29 years of age are for full marriage equality, compared to 37% who do not.  And among those 50 to 64 years old 44% are in favor as opposed to 43% who do not.  Only those 65 and older are clearly opposed to marriage equality with 63% opposed and 25% in favor. In addition 52% of Catholic college graduates are clearly in favor versus the 38% who are not. There is a clear demographic and educational shift taking place among Catholics regarding full marriage equality.  
  • The most recent polling by Public Religion Research Institute (July 2010) indicates that in California that 51% of Catholics and 57% of Latino Catholics would vote for marriage equality.
  • And recent polling in Rhode Island by Greenberg Quinlan and Rosner Research (indicates that 63% of Catholics would vote for marriage equality.

[1] Robert P. Jones and Dan Cox, Public Religion Research, 2008: http://www.publicreligion.org/research/published/?id=107

[2] The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, American Millennials: Generations Apart, March 2010, http://maristpoll.marist.edu/tag/knights-of-columbus/

[3] Robert P. Jones and Dan Cox, Public Religion Research, 2008: http://www.publicreligion.org/research/published/?id=107

[6] Human Rights Campaign Survey, 2007

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