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Is Support for Same-Sex Marriage Among Pastors Declining? Here's What We Found
Posted by Temmy
Sat, June 08, 2024 11:26pm

According to a new report by Lifeway Research, a majority of pastors in the United States continue to oppose same-sex marriage, and the past growing trend of support among mainline clergy is slowing down. The report, released Tuesday, found that in 2023, 21 percent of Protestant pastors said they saw “nothing wrong” with same-sex marriage, a slight decrease compared to the 24 percent of pastors who said the same in 2019.

As reported by The Christian Post, Lifeway also found that 46 percent of pastors from progressive mainline denominations support same-sex marriage, which is not much of a difference from the 47 percent in 2019, even though it is above the 32 percent reported in 2010.

Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research, stated in Lifeway that the “previous growth was seen most clearly among mainline pastors, and that level did not rise in our latest survey.”

“Debates continue within denominations at national and judicatory levels on the morality of same-sex marriage, yet the overall number of Protestant pastors who support same-sex marriage is not growing,” said McConnell.

The report also found that 7 percent of Evangelical pastors were in favor of gay marriage, that pastors aged 18 to 44 were more likely to support same-sex marriage than pastors over the age of 65 (27 percent vs. 15 percent), and that only 8 percent of pastors with congregations with more than 250 regular attendees saw nothing wrong with gay marriage.

Lifeway Research conducted the report from Aug. 29, 2023, through Sept. 20, 2023, surveying 1,004 Protestant pastors. At the 95 percent confidence level, the margin of error was plus or minus 3.2 percent.

In March, the Public Religion Research Institute released its 2023 American Values Atlas, which likewise saw a slight decline in support for same-sex marriage and LGBT nondiscrimination protections among the general population.

In particular, the PRRI report found that support for “laws that would protect gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people against discrimination in jobs, public accommodations, and housing” went from 80 percent in 2022 to 76 percent in 2023. Moreover, support for same-sex marriage slightly decreased from 69 percent in 2022 to 67 percent in 2023.

“Our survey shows that support for LGBTQ rights has dipped slightly from 2022 to 2023, although the vast majority of Americans continue to endorse anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ Americans and the right of same-sex couples to marry,” PRRI CEO Melissa Deckman said in a statement.

“The growing partisan divide on these issues show the effect of the continuous use of LGBTQ identity and LGBTQ rights as a wedge issue in our nation’s culture wars.”


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