Poll: Majority of Americans believe marriage equality is a civil rights issue

Staff Reports

A new poll finds that the majority of Americans believe that marriage equality is a civil rights issue, and that it will inevitably become legal – whether they support it or not.

According to the survey by the Southern Baptist Church-affiliated LifeWay Research, 58 percent of American adults believe that same-sex marriage is a civil rights issue, and 64 percent believe it is inevitable same-sex marriage will become legal throughout the United States.

The poll also found many Americans believe that certain professions should be allowed to refuse their services to same-sex couples.

According to the findings:

  • 63 percent agree that pastors should be allowed to refuse to officiate same-sex weddings if they are made legal in their state;
  • 58 percent agree that photographers should be allowed to refuse to work same-sex weddings if they are made legal in their state;
  • 40 percent agree that rental halls should be allowed to refuse to rent out their facilities for same-sex weddings if they are made legal in their state;
  • 27 percent agree landlords should be allowed to refuse to rent housing to same-sex couples if same-sex marriage is made legal in their state;
  • 14 percent agree employers should be allowed to refuse employment to someone based on their sexual preference.

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“Clearly, Americans believe the prerogative exists for individuals such as clergy or photographers to deny services for same-sex marriage,” said Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research. “However, the level of agreement changes with scenarios that could be interpreted as more basic rights such as housing and employment.”

“While a majority of Americans categorize homosexuality as a civil rights issue like age, race and gender, and almost two-thirds think legalization of same-sex marriage in the U.S. is evitable, the research does show lines and divisions on these issues clearly exist in our country,” Stetzer said.

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