Southern Baptist polling firm finds growing support for gay rights

WiG

A poll by a Southern Baptist research firm finds growing support for gay rights and that a hefty majority believes civil same-sex marriage is inevitable in the United States.

The survey was conducted by Lifeway Research, which asked adults questions about same-sex marriage, as well as whether those in the wedding business should be able to refuse to get involved in a same-sex ceremony.

The firm found:

• 64 percent of Americans agree same-sex marriage will become legal in the United States, a quarter disagree and 12 percent “don’t know.”

• Women (61 percent), Americans with a college degree (65 percent), and those age 18-29 (65 percent) are more likely to agree that sexual orientation is a civil rights issue like gender, race and age.

• 63 percent agree and 27 percent disagree that pastors should be allowed to refuse to officiate same-sex weddings if they are made legal in their state.

• 58 percent agree and 33 percent disagree that photographers should be allowed to refuse to work same-sex weddings if they are made legal in their state.

• 40 percent agree and 52 percent disagree that rental halls should be allowed to refuse to rent out their facilities for same-sex weddings if they are made legal in their state.

• 27 percent agree and 67 percent disagree landlords should be allowed to refuse to rent housing to same-sex couples if same-sex marriage is made legal in their state.

• 14 percent agree and 82 percent disagree employers should be allowed to refuse employment to someone based on their sexual orientation — the researchers actually used “sexual preference” in the question.

Lifeway Research president Ed Stetzger said the findings show, that “Americans believe the prerogative exists for individuals such as clergy or photographers to deny services for same-sex marriage. However, the level of agreement changes with scenarios that could be interpreted as more basic rights such as housing and employment.”

On the website, Lifeway Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, established in Nashville, Tenn., in 1891, is described as “one of the world’s largest providers of Christian products and services, including Bibles, church literature, books, music, audio and video recordings, church supplies, and internet services through LifeWay.com. The company also owns and operates 160 LifeWay Christian Stores across the nation, as well as one of the largest Christian conference centers in the country.