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Religious Tolerance logo

An essay donated by Rabbi Allen S. Maller

2013-DEC: Support for same-sex marriage
among American adults of different religions

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In this web site, LGBT is an acronym referring to the
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community.

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Jews lead Nation in accepting same-sex marriage: 1

On 2014-FEB-26, the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) released a new study of a decade of changes in attitudes on LGBT-related issues. 2 It revealed a 21-perentage point jump in support for same-sex marriage from 2003, when 32% of American adults supported same-sex marriage, to 2013, when a majority 53% of Americans did.

The PRRI study, titled "A Shifting Landscape: A Decade of Change in American Attitudes about Same-Sex Marriage and LGBT Issues" 3 found that of all the identified religious groups in the poll, Jews are more supportive of same-sex marriage than any other religious group.


  • 83% of Jews favor allowing same-sex couples to marry legally compared to:

  • 73% of those with no religious affiliation, 4

  • 62% of white mainline Protestants,

  • 57% of Catholics, 46% of Hispanic Protestants,

  • 35% of Black Protestants and

  • 27% of white evangelical Protestants. 5

Moreover, 58% of Jews strongly favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry. This is a full 22 percentage points higher than the next highest category, the religiously unaffiliated.

Amazingly, Jews are only 3 points behind LGBT Americans in their own support of marriage equality (86%).

Even more amazingly, only a quarter of Americans believe Jews are friendly toward LGBT people, a third believe we are unfriendly and 41% do not know or refused to answer the question. Jews are perceived by non-Jews to be only 1 percentage point friendlier than evangelical Christian churches and 6 percentage points less friendly than African-American churches. In reality Jews are much more friendly than those two groups.

The size of the gap between Jewish support for gays and these two church groups is a giant 56 percentage points when compared to evangelical Christian churches and 48 points compared to African-American churches.

The Union of Reform Jews was the first national religious organization in the U. accept a LGBT congregation as a member.

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Webmaster's note:

The results are based on interviews with 4,509 Americans which is larger than most surveys on this topic. They included a subsample of self-identified LGBT Americans, conducted between 2013-NOV-12 and DEC-18.  The margin of error for the 53% support datum by all Americans is ±1.5 percentage points. The margin of error for data concerning various faith groups would be larger.

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Reference used and webmaster's comments:

The following information source wa used to prepare the above essay. Hyperlink is not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Same-sex marriage" was once more commonly referred to as "gay marriage." "Gay marriage" is a problematic term, because the word "Gay" sometimes is used to refer to a male person with a homosexual orientation, and sometimes for either a male or female person with a homosexual orientation. Also some same-sex marriages include one or two bisexuals. So "same-sex marriage" is both less ambiguous and more inclusive.
  2. Support for marriage equality has trended upwards at an average of about 2 percentage points a year, even as opposition has fallen at about the same value. The margin between support and opposition is thus on the order of 4 percentage points a year. Major contributors to this shift have been young adults, most of whom have a friend or family member from the LGBT community.
  3. "Survey: A Shifting Landscape: A Decade of Change in American Attitudes about Same-Sex Marriage and LGBT Issues," Public Religion Research Institute, 2014-FEB-26, at:
  4. This web site refers to people with no religious affiliation as "NOTAs, as in "NOT Affiliated." The rest of the world seems to use "NONES," which is very unfortunate. It makes life difficult for TV and Radio announcers when they struggle with two homonyms: nuns and nones. The fact that both refer to religious groups is particularly confusing.
  5. This is a particularly important value to watch because much of the opposition to marriage equality comes from fundamentalists and other evangelical Christians.

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Originally posted: 2014-MAR-27
Latest update: 2014-MAR-28
Author: B.A. Robinson

Rabbi Maller's web site is at:

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