Catholic Church

Catholics Do Not Support Religious Refusals

by Francis DeBernardo

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.

You can see the full report here.

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.

Originally published by New Ways Ministry; Photo by flickr user Fr Lawrence Lew, O.P.

Comments (2)

Claire Hughes

I believe it when the survey
I believe it when the survey shows that Catholics support gays when it comes to marriage and non-discrimination by small businesses. But I believe that many powerful voices of Catholics also continue to separate themselves from practicing gays. It was sad when I heard a Catholic radio show host telling someone that she shouldn’t invite her gay brother and his partner to their wedding because it would be telling them that they were ok with their relationship. But the talk show host was equally hard on not inviting relatives who are living together out of wedlock. Harsh. The host must be in the minority in this survey, but her position gives her power to spread her religious message of intolerance to all people living lives of sin. Too bad she can’t separate her religious beliefs from the love of all people that Christ showed us. The one without sin can cast the first stone.


Catholics oppose
Catholics oppose discrimination yet they discriminate..they treat us like we are a different kind of human that should be punished for being born human..the torture to homosexuals by exclusion from human things is enormous and has cost us THOUSANDS of lives and homophobic among religions destroys families.

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