A new survey reveals that a majority of Catholics oppose allowing small business owners in their state to refuse products or services to gay and lesbian people, if doing so violates their religious beliefs.
The data from PRRI shows that 63% of Hispanic Catholics and 61% of White Catholics oppose refusals based on religious beliefs.
When compared to the general American population, of which 61% oppose these religious 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 groups and found that a majority of almost all traditions opposed religious refusals. Unitarian/Universalists show the greatest opposition to religious refusals, with 87% responding negatively to the idea.
The only group not showing a majority opposition is White Evangelicals, with only 42% opposing religious refusals, 50% supporting religious refusals, and 8% undecided.
The same report also shows that a majority of religious Americans support marriage equality for lesbian and gay couples.
Catholics show 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 report points out an interesting political phenomenon when comparing responses on marriage equality and religious refusals. While six religious groups lack majority support for marriage equality—Jehovah’s Witnesses, White evangelical Protestants, Mormons, Hispanic Protestants, Muslims, and Black Protestants—five of these groups still hold a majority opposition to religious refusals. White evangelical Protestants are the only exception.
This 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 beliefs.
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.