Ahead of the Supreme Court’s upcoming ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, a new survey has found broad popular support for same-sex marriage in the U.S. and a strong belief that the Supreme Court will rule to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide.
Obergefell v. Hodges is a landmark federal lawsuit suing for the recognition by Ohio of same-sex marriage validly established in other jurisdictions. The U.S. Supreme Court has consolidated it with three other same-sex marriage cases, Tanco v. Haslam (Tennessee), DeBoer v. Snyder (Michigan), Bourke v. Beshear (Kentucky), that challenge a state’s refusal to recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions, a state’s refusal to license same-sex marriages, or both.
The PRRI Religion & Politics Tracking Survey was conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI). PRRI is “a 501(c)(3) non-profit, non-partisan organization specializing in research at the intersection of religion, values, and public life.”
The nationwide survey of 1,009 adults was conducted from June 3 to June 7, 2015. The survey measures public opinion on same-sex marriage, the upcoming Supreme Court decision, non-discrimination laws protecting LGBT Americans, the acceptability of small business owners refusing services on religious grounds, and the amount of discrimination faced by gay, lesbian and transgender Americans.
The survey finds that, overall, 55% of Americans favour allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry legally, while 37% oppose. However, strong generational, religious and partisan divisions remain. Even more Americans (65%) believe the Supreme Court will rule to legalize same-sex marriage, while only one-quarter (25%) think it will leave existing state bans intact.
The issue of same-sex marriage continues to divide religious Americans. Majorities of religiously unaffiliated Americans (79 percent), white mainline Protestants (60 percent) and Catholics (58 percent) favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry legally. Conversely, only 29 percent of white evangelical Protestants and 35 percent of non-white Protestants support making same-sex marriage legal; majorities of white evangelical Protestants (62 percent) and non-white Protestants (54 percent) oppose it.
More than six in ten Americans say that transgender people (62 percent) and gay and lesbian people (62 percent) face a lot of discrimination in American society. These numbers are down from February 2014, when roughly seven in ten Americans said that they believed transgender people (71 percent) and gay and lesbian people (68 percent) face a lot of discrimination.
Nearly seven in ten (69 percent) Americans—including 65 percent of Republicans and 60 percent of white evangelical Protestants—favor laws that would protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people against discrimination in jobs, public accommodations and housing.
In addition, Six in ten (60%) Americans oppose allowing a small business owner to refuse products or services to gay and lesbian people, even if doing so violates their religious beliefs, while 34% support such a policy.
While majorities of most religious groups oppose these so-called “religious freedom” laws, white evangelical Protestants (51%) are the only religious group with majority support. Forty-two percent of white evangelical Protestants oppose allowing small businesses to refuse products or services to gay and lesbian people on religious grounds. By contrast, 59% of white mainline Protestants, 63% of non-white Protestants, and 64% of Catholics oppose allowing small business owners to refuse service to gay and lesbian people on religious grounds, as do nearly three-quarters (73%) of religiously unaffiliated Americans.
At present 37 of 50 states (72% of all states) have introduced marriage equality so far.Same-sex marriage is banned in the following states by state constitution, or by state law and state constitution – the highlighted states have pro-marriage equality rulings that have been stayed.
- North Dakota
- South Dakota