The average Catholic supports marriage equality more than the average American. That's the story from a recent Quinnipiac poll that showed 54% of Catholics support marriage equality, which is higher than the national average of 47%. This strong support for marriage comes despite extreme vocal opposition from Roman Catholic hierarchy in the public realm, as well as internal persecution of Catholics who support marriage equality.
The poll also showed that a majority of Catholics believe the Roman Catholic hierarchy is out of touch with the views of Catholics in America today. On the issue of LGBT equality the hierarchy has long been out of step with Roman Catholic people, among several other issues. The hierarchy's vitriolic rhetoric concerning LGBT people, combined with a decade-long clergy sex abuse scandal, as well as persecution of LGBT supportive Catholics, has destroyed the credibility of the hierarchy on the issue of loving, committed gay and lesbian couples.
"Catholic voters are leading American voters toward support for same-sex marriage," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
This poll is released at the same time that Roman Catholic cardinals gather at the Vatican to select a new pope, following the resignation of Pope Benedict. Although a majority Catholics polled stated that they would like to see the next pope move the Roman Catholic Church in a new direction, it seems unlikely to happen. Pope Benedict selected a number of cardinals during his term who reflect his same animus toward LGBT people. Those considered top contenders have all used the same extreme and out of touch rhetoric about LGBT people.
The poll also comes as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to consider two cases about the freedom to marry, the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California’s Proposition 8, which are fundamentally about whether gay and lesbian Americans can enjoy the same freedoms and opportunities as everyone else.
A recent New York Times/CBS poll places Catholic support for marriage equality even higher, at 62%. Scott Wooledge and the United for Marriage coalition used that information to release the following graphic.
GLAAD is working with United for Marriage, a coalition of LGBT and allied groups, grassroots leaders, and families to organize events right outside the Supreme Court and all over the country. Come rally with us outside the Supreme Court in Washington, DC on March 26th and 27th or join over 60 events being organized right now around the country. Visit GLAAD.org/marriage to learn more and take action.
Everyday Catholics continue to support marriage equality at a higher rate than the average American public. The anti-gay vitriol of the Roman Catholic hierarchy is becoming more and more irrelevant in American public discourse. Even as they cry about so-called "religious liberty," they are alienating their own flock with their words and actions. It's time for the media to take note, and put the anti-gay comments of bishops and cardinals into perspective. They no longer represent Catholics on this issue.