.- A new survey shows that a majority of Americans continue to oppose same-sex âmarriageâ and consider homosexual behavior immoral. However, opponents of same-sex âmarriageâ may have become more favorable towards allowing legal arrangements for homosexual couples.
The Washington, D.C.-based Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life reported that 53 percent of Americans say they are opposed to same-sex âmarriage,â with only 39 percent saying they favor legal recognition for the practice.
While only 30 percent of regularly churchgoing non-Hispanic white Catholics favored same-sex âmarriage,â 54 percent of those who attend less than weekly expressed support for it. Because regular churchgoers are a minority among Catholics, 45 percent of all non-Hispanic white Catholics favor same-sex âmarriageâ and only 43 percent are opposed.
White evangelicals and black Protestants are most opposed to same-sex âmarriage,â the poll says. Hispanics are opposed by a margin of 49 to 45 percent.
Those in the 18-29 age demographic were most supportive of same-sex âmarriage,â with 58 percent favoring it and 37 percent opposing. A majority of all other age groups are opposed, though 38 percent in the 30-49 demographic supported legal recognition of the practice.
According to the Pew survey, College graduates slightly favored same-sex âmarriage.â By region, the East and the West are split on the issue while opposition is strongest in the Midwest and the South.
Measured by political affiliation, only self-described liberal Democrats favor same-sex marriage, but did so by a margin of 72 to 24 percent. Independents are almost evenly split, while conservative or moderate Democrats shared about the same opposition to the practice as moderate or liberal Republicans. Conservative Republicans are overwhelmingly against the practice, by 81 percent to 14 percent.
About half of Pew respondents said that homosexual behavior is morally wrong, with nine percent saying it is acceptable and 35 percent saying it is not a moral issue.
Only five percent of non-Hispanic churchgoing Catholics said the behavior is morally acceptable, while 53 percent said it is morally wrong. Thirty percent said it is ânot a moral issue.â Among all Catholic respondents, 39 percent recognized the behavior as morally wrong while 12 percent deemed it morally acceptable and 41 percent said it is ânot a moral issue.â
On the topic of legal arrangements for homosexuals, about 57 percent of Pew respondents favored âallowing gay and lesbian couples to enter into legal agreements with each other that would give them many of the same rights as married couples,â while 37 percent said they are opposed. Opponents of same-sex âmarriageâ have become more likely to favor such arrangements, increasing from 24 to 30 percent.
While the Pew Forum characterized this response as support for civil unions, the question was broad enough to encompass many other kinds of legal arrangements.
The Pew survey of 4,013 Americans age 18 or older was conducted in August 2009. The survey claims a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points.