By Lisa Cannon Green
Fully a third of white evangelical Protestants now support same-sex marriage, a nationwide survey by the Public Religion Research Institute shows.
And support is even higher among young white evangelical Protestants, a sign the trend may continue to grow. Already, a majority (53 percent) of white evangelicals 18 to 29 years old approve of legalizing single-sex marriages.
“Even in groups most opposed to same-sex marriage, a majority of young adults favor this policy,” PRRI says.
Overall, white evangelicals remain largely opposed to same-sex marriage—58 percent say they oppose it, including 30 percent who say they are strongly opposed.
In their opposition, white evangelicals stand contrary to almost all other religious groups. Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses are the only other groups in which more than half oppose same-sex marriage, according to PRRI.
And although 34 percent of white evangelicals say they favor legal same-sex marriage, support is much higher among most other groups.
|Faith group||Support same-sex marriage|
|Religiously unaffiliated||80 percent|
|Jewish Americans||77 percent|
|White mainline Protestants||67 percent|
|White Catholics||66 percent|
|Orthodox Christians||66 percent|
|Hispanic Catholics||65 percent|
|Black Protestants||48 percent|
|Hispanic Protestants||43 percent|
|White evangelical Protestants||34 percent|
|Jehovah’s Witnesses||13 percent|
“Opposition to same-sex marriage is now confined to a few of the most conservative Christian religious traditions,” PRRI says.
“Nevertheless, even those religious groups most opposed to same-sex marriage have become more accepting of it over the last five years.”
Like other Americans, white evangelicals have become more open to same-sex marriage since PRRI’s previous surveys.
Only 12 percent of white evangelicals were in favor in 2003, when the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court declared same-sex marriage to be legal in that state.
By 2013, more than a quarter (27 percent) of white evangelicals approved of same-sex unions.
And in 2017, support had climbed to 34 percent.
Opposition among white evangelicals, meanwhile, dropped from 71 percent in 2013 to 58 percent in 2017, according to PRRI.
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Lisa is a former senior editor at Lifeway Research.