The Public Religion Research Institute today released “Generations at Odds: The Millennial Generation and the Future of Gay and Lesbian Rights,” a report based on the Millennials, Religion & Gay and Lesbian Issues Survey. The survey notes the generational pattern, even among conservative political and religious groups such as evangelical Protestants.
Traditionally, people assume that religious groups generally oppose LGBT equality. However, the survey found that all people in all major religious groups support employment discrimination protections for gay and lesbian Americans. Even among the more contentious issue of marriage equality, major religious groups fall on both sides of the debate.
Dr. Robert P. Jones, CEO of Public Religion Research Institute, noted that support for LGBT people has moved into a majority position. “Overall trends and the strongly supportive attitudes of the Millennial generation suggest that we will look back on 2011 as the year marking a sea change in American attitudes on gay and lesbian issues.”
Among the findings:
- More than 6-in-10 (62%) Millennials favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry, 69% favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to adopt children, 71% favor civil unions, and 79% favor employment discrimination protections for gay and lesbian people.
- Forty-four percent of white evangelical Millennials favor allowing gay and lesbian people to marry, compared to only 12% of evangelical seniors and 19% of evangelicals overall.
- Slightly more Catholics (46%) believe the Catholic Church’s position on the issue of gay and lesbian people is too conservative than believe it is about right (43%).
- Nearly seven-in-ten (69%) Millennials agree that religious groups are alienating young people by being too judgmental about gay and lesbian issues. Among seniors, only 37% agree that religious groups are alienating young people by being too judgmental and 48% disagree.
- Among religious groups, 73% of non-Christian affiliated, 64% of Catholics, 60% of black Protestants, 59% of white mainline Protestants, and 51% of white evangelical Protestants say places of worship contribute either a lot or a little to higher rates of suicide among gay and lesbian youth.
GLAAD is pleased with these findings. An increasing number of young voices and religious voices joining the movement for LGBT equality will shift the public perception of LGBT people to a more positive position. An increasingly positive perception will, in turn, promote understanding, increase acceptance, and advance equality for all Americans. GLAAD will continue to encourage media outlets to include pro-LGBT voices of faith in their coverage of issues that affect LGBT Americans.