Survey: Strong Support Among Catholics for Marriage Equality

by Kilian Melloy
Wednesday Jul 28, 2010

A survey of Catholics in the state of California shows that a significant percentage support marriage equality for gay and lesbian families, reported on July 27.

The Public Religion Research Institute polled 3,000 Catholics in California on the question, and discovered that among Caucasian adherents of the faith, 37% were supportive of marriage rights for gays and lesbians, with Latino Catholics outstripping that number and weighing in at 44% in favor of full family parity. Conversely, 41% of Caucasian Catholics favored civil unions--while among Latinos, support fell to 28%.

"Only 22% of white Catholics and 23% of Latino Catholics oppose the legal recognition of homosexual unions," the site reported, going on to note that opposition to marriage parity for gay and lesbian families was higher among Protestants.

"Protestants are much more likely to hear about homosexuality from their clergy than Catholics," the article quoted the report as noting, with less than a third (29%) of Catholic Caucasians and less than half (42%) of Catholic Latinos saying that their clergymen talked about the issue.

The site went on to quote a 2003 statement from the church's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which declared, ""All Catholics are obliged to oppose the legal recognition of homosexual unions."

Church teaching holds that GLBTs are due the same respect and dignity as heterosexuals, and that they do not "choose" their sexuality. However, the church also teaches that GLBTs are "disordered" with respect to sexuality and relationships, and proclaims that sexual expressions of affection, commitment, and intimacy between consenting adults of the same gender are "inherently evil." The church believes that God "calls" gays to live celibate lives, and church officials have denounced gay and lesbian parents as inflicting "violence" onto their own children simply by raising them in loving homes with single-sex parents.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith went on to assert that, "Legal recognition of homosexual unions or placing them on the same level as marriage would mean not only the approval of deviant behavior, with the consequence of making it a model in present-day society, but would also obscure basic values which belong to the common inheritance of humanity."

The Catholic church joined the Mormon church in supporting the successful 2008 effort to rescind the then-existing legal right of gay and lesbian California families to enter into wedlock. The revocation of that right took place with the passage of a ballot initiative, Proposition 8, which was approved by a narrow majority of voters after a harrowing and deeply divisive campaign.

The survey results were part of a broad overview of Californians' beliefs and views regarding full family parity. The Public Religion Research Institute report "Religion and Same-sex Marriage in California: A New Look at Attitudes and Values Two Years After Proposition 8," which was released July 21, noted that individuals with a higher degree of education were more likely to support marriage parity for gay and lesbian families. The report also noted that, "A significant number of Californians who initially say the support civil unions but not same-sex marriage are willing to support marriage equality it the law addresses either of two basic concerns about religious marriage." One concern involved churches being compelled to perform marriages for same-sex couples; the report said that if the law were to guarantee that no such mandate were put into effect, and churches were free to refuse same-sex couples, full marriage parity would enjoy greater support.

The other point concerned "civil marriages," as opposed to "religious marriages," with the report noting that, "when Californians are presented with an assurance that the law 'only provided for civil marriages like you get at city hall,' more than half of Californians who initially supported only civil unions are willing to support marriage equality."

More broadly, the report also found that, "More than two-thirds (67%) of Californians believe that gay and lesbian relationships should be accepted by society, compared to [30%] who disagree."

Next: Catholics and 'Confusion About Sexuality'


  • , 2010-07-28 17:38:14

    To those of you using the Bible as a weapon against homosexuality, you are wrong. Homosexuality is not a sin. The Bible is constantly being taken out of context to support anti-gay views. Scholars who have studied the Bible in context of the times and in relation to other passages have shown those passages (Leviticus, Corinthians, Romans, etc) have nothing to do with homosexuality. These passages often cherry-picked while ignoring the rest of the Bible. The sins theses passages are referring to are idolatry, Greek temple sex worship, prostitution, pederasty with teen boys, and rape, not homosexuality or two loving consenting adults. Thats why Jesus never mentions it as well. There is nothing immoral, wrong, or sinful about being gay. Jesus, however, clearly states he HATES hypocrisy. If you preach goodness, then promote hate and twist the words of the Bible, you are a hypocrite, and will be judged and sent to hell. Homosexuals will not go to hell, hypocrites will. This is very similar to the religious bigots of the past, where they took Bible passages to condone slavery, keep women down, and used Bible passages to claim blacks as curses who should be enslaved by the white man. People used God to claim that blacks marrying whites was unnatural, and not of God’s will.

  • , 2010-07-28 17:38:37

    The National Library of Medicine pubs confirm that sexual orientation is natural, biologically induced in the first trimester of pregnancy, morally neutral, immutable, neither contagious nor learned, bearing no relation to an individuals ability to form deep and lasting relationships, to parent children, to work or to contribute to society. From the American Psychological Association: homosexuality is normal; homosexual relationships are normal. The American Academy of Pediatrics, American Psychological Asociation and American Psychiatric Asociation have endorsed civil marriage for same-sex couples because marriage strengthens mental and physical health and longevity of couples, and provides greater legal and financial security for children, parents and seniors. America’s premier child/mental health associations endorse marriage equality

  • , 2010-07-28 17:38:49

    This was taken from another poster that shows why we need to legalize gay marriage. If you don’t feel for this person after reading it, you simply aren’t human. "I am not sure what our President thinks of this dicission but coming from a poor family and knowing what discrimination is all about I would assume he would not care if "Gays" have equal rights. The whole reason why they are asking for rights to be considered married is from the same reason why I would be for it. My own life partner commited suicide in our home with a gun to his heart. After a 28 year union I was deprived to even go his funeral. We had two plots next to each other. But because we did not have a marriage cirtificate "(Legal Document)" of our union his mother had him cremated and his ashes taken back to Missouri where we came from. That is only one example how painful it is. His suicide tramatized me so much and her disregard for my feelings only added to my heartach. That happened on March 21 of 2007 and I still cannot type this without crying for the trauma I have to endure each day. Oh did I mention I am in an electric wheelchair for life? Yes I am and it is very diffacult to find another mate when you are 58 and in a wheelchair. "

  • , 2010-07-28 17:39:42

    The American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and the National Association of Social Workers state: "There is no scientific basis for distinguishing between same-sex couples and heterosexual couples with respect to the legal rights, obligations, benefits, and burdens conferred by civil marriage." Thus, mental health professionals and researchers have long recognized that being homosexual poses no inherent obstacle to leading a happy, healthy, and productive life, and that the vast majority of gay and lesbian people function well in the full array of social institutions and interpersonal relationships. The research and clinical literature demonstrate that same-sex sexual and romantic attractions, feelings, and behaviors are normal and positive variations of human sexuality. The longstanding consensus of the behavioral and social sciences and the health and mental health professions is that homosexuality per se is a normal and positive variation of human sexual orientation.

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