Religion plays a big role in individual and institutional decisions about same-sex marriage. Senior Roman Catholic clerics spoke out Sunday on TV news shows – expressing love and compassion but holding to the church's opposition to gay marriage.
As the US Supreme Court ponders same-sex marriage – and politicians look anxiously for public opinion clues on today’s hottest social issue – church leaders play an important role that may in fact be diminishing.
Increasingly, it seems, church doctrine holds less sway on what many see as a moral issue.
A recent Quinnipiac University poll, for example, finds that Roman Catholics support gay marriage 54-38 percent – slightly higher than the general population, according to several recent polls.
Among those who describe themselves as “born-again, evangelical, or fundamentalist" Christians, opposition to gay marriage remains high. Still, half of those say “the legalization of same-sex marriage is inevitable,” according to a survey by LifeWay Research, which is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention.
Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council, says polls showing increasing support for same-sex marriage should not be taken as political gospel – especially for Republicans wavering in the direction of approval.
“History – and most statistical data – shows that young people tend to become more conservative and more religious as they grow up, get married, and start families of their own,” Mr. Perkins writes on the CNS.com website (founded as the Conservative News Service).