California Residents Surveyed on Religion and Marriage Equality

July 22, 2010
Three-thousand Californians participated in a  Public Religion Research Institute survey on religion and LGBT issues.  The report examined the role clergy plays in influencing parishioners’ opinions on issues like Prop 8, as well as changing attitudes within the African American community and the Latino community. [caption id="attachment_23611" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="The Rev. Janie Spahr Celebrates a Wedding in California"] [/caption] It is the most comprehensive poll of Californians’ views on marriage equality broken down by religion since the approval of Prop 8 in 2008.  The study revealed that only one-in-five Californians believe that Prop 8, which stripped marriage from LGBT people, was a “good thing” for the state. One in four people became more supportive and religious minorities have made the biggest changes. Among black Protestants, 27% report becoming more supportive and Latino Catholics report 31% becoming more supportive. The biggest gap was between Catholic and Protestant Latinos.  Only 27% of Protestant Latinos support same-sex Marriage whereas 57% of Catholic Latinos support marriage equality. On the same day, a Field Poll was released which showed fifty-one percent of California voters support marriage for gay couples, up by two percent from last year. Equality California's Marriage Director Marc Solomon said, "The [Field] poll also confirms that members of the Latino community are very open to the message of equality. As such, we are stepping up our work in communities of color alongside our coalition partners and tireless volunteers. We are wholeheartedly committed to sharing our stories in every community in order to achieve solid majority support by 2012, so that we can restore the freedom to marry once and for all." The new studies come at a time when Californians await a U.S. district court's decision on Prop 8 and marriage equality is making headway across the country.  Two recent court rulings in Boston have declared the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to be unconstitutional.  And in a 5-4 ruling last Thursday, Washington DC’s highest court rejected an effort to force a referendum to overturn marriage equality in the District.