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Lifeway Research: 75 Percent of Protestant Pastors Oppose Gay Marriage

By    |   Monday, 10 June 2024 12:07 PM EDT

The majority of U.S. Protestant pastors are still against gay marriage, according to a Lifeway Research study.

A total of 3 in 4 Protestant pastors (75%) are opposed, including 69% who strongly disagree with same-sex marriage. Another 4% say they are not sure.

But 1 in 5 pastors (21%) agree with gay marriage, according to the study by the evangelical research firm.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled June 26, 2015, on a case that set a precedent for same-sex couples. The narrow, 5-4 decision effectively ended same-sex marriage bans in 14 states, The Associated Press reported.

Gallup found a year ago that 71% of Americans think same-sex marriage should be legal. Public support for legally recognizing gay marriages has been consistently above 50% since the early 2010s, Gallup observed.

Previous Lifeway Research studies found growing support among Protestant pastors for gay marriage, Christian Today noted. In 2010, 15% of U.S. Protestant pastors had no moral issues with the practice. The percentage in favor grew to 24% in 2019. Today, support is statistically unchanged at 21%.

Pastors are slightly more supportive of legal civil unions between two people of the same gender: Currently, 28% back civil unions, statistically unchanged from the 32% in 2019 and 28% in 2018.

Evangelical pastors have been consistently opposed to same-sex marriage, according to Lifeway Research. Fewer than 1 in 10 have expressed support for the practice since 2010. Today, 7% of self-identified U.S. evangelical Protestant pastors say they are in favor of two people of the same gender getting married.

Methodists (53%), Presbyterian/Reformed (36%), and Lutherans (34%) are more likely to be supportive of same-sex marriage than Restorationist Movement (8%), nondenominational (5%), Baptist (4%), or Pentecostal (1%) pastors.

Additionally, female pastors (42%), who are more common among mainline denominations, are far more likely than their male counterparts (16%) to back same-sex marriage, according to Lifeway Research.

Younger pastors are more likely to be supportive than the oldest pastors. Protestant pastors 18 to 44 (27%) and 55 to 64 (22%) are more likely than pastors 65 and older (15%) to be in favor of same-sex marriage.

Pastors with a master's (30%) or doctoral degree (26%) are more likely than those with no college degree (9%) or a bachelor's degree (7%) to say they are OK with same-sex marriage.

Pastors in the Northeast (27%), where same-sex marriage was first legalized in the U.S., and the Midwest (25%), are more likely than those in the South (18%) to be supportive, according to Lifeway Research.

Those leading smaller churches are more likely to see nothing wrong with two people of the same gender getting married. Pastors at churches with fewer than 50 in attendance (27%) and those at congregations of 50 to 99 (25%) are more likely than those at churches with attendance between 100 and 249 (11%) and 250 or more (8%) to be in favor of same-sex marriage.

"Debates continue within denominations at national and judicatory levels on the morality of same-sex marriage, yet the overall number of Protestant pastors who support same-sex marriage is not growing," said Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research. "The previous growth was seen most clearly among mainline pastors, and that level did not rise in our latest survey."

Launched in 2006, Lifeway Research is a leading evangelical research firm measuring needs in the church and culture.

The phone survey of 1,004 Protestant pastors was conducted Aug. 29, 2023 through Sept. 20, 2023. The completed sample is 1,004 surveys. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.

Peter Malbin

Peter Malbin, a Newsmax writer, covers news and politics. He has 30 years of news experience, including for the New York Times, New York Post and Newsweek.com. 

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


Politics
The majority of U.S. Protestant pastors are still against gay marriage, according to a Lifeway Research study.
gay, marriage, protestant, pastors, church, religion, freedom, lgbtq
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2024-07-10
Monday, 10 June 2024 12:07 PM
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