Hispanic Voters' View on Gay Marriage Split Along Faith Lines

A rapidly growing number of Latinos support same-sex marriage, mirroring growing support among the general public, according to a recently released Pew Research Center survey. However, the majority of Hispanic evangelical Protestants remain opposed to same-sex marriage.

In a presidential election season in which the DNC has made support of same-sex marriage part of its platform for the first time in history, tracking how voters feel on the issue has become another important gauge on which way voters are leaning.

For the first time since the Pew Hispanic Center began asking the question in its National Survey of Latinos, more Hispanics favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally (52%) than oppose same-sex marriage (34%). As recently as 2006, these figures were reversed (56% of Latinos opposed same-sex marriage, while 31% supported it).

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Hispanic evangelical Protestants, by contrast, remain opposed to legal marriage for gays and lesbians by more than two-to-one (66% opposed, 25% in favor).

The survey also found that among Latino registered voters, support for President Barack Obama is higher among Catholics and those with no religious affiliation than among evangelical Protestants. The president has the support of 73 percent of Latino Catholics and 82 percent of Latinos with no religious affiliation, but only half (50 percent) of Latino evangelicals.

Obama's main rival in the presidential race, Republican Mitt Romney, has the support of 39 percent of Latino evangelicals, but only 19 percent of Latino Catholics and seven percent of Latinos with no religious affiliation.

Among all Latino registered voters, Obama has a 48 percentage point advantage over Romney, 69 to 21 percent, according to the survey.

The Latino electorate today includes 23.7 million eligible voters – an increase of more than 4 million since 2008, the Pew Research Center stated. Overall, Latinos now account for 11% of the nation's eligible electorate, up from 9.5% in 2008. In addition, Latinos make up at least 14% of all eligible voters in three battleground states this year – Colorado, Florida and Nevada.

The National Survey of Latinos report takes an in-depth look at the link between religion and political topics in the Latino community, according to the center. It is based on a nationally representative bilingual telephone survey conducted jointly by the Pew Hispanic Center and the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, Sept. 7-Oct. 4, 2012 (largely before the first presidential debate), among 1,765 Latino adults, including 903 registered voters.

A vote this coming election on whether to officially recognize gay marriages will take place in the states of Maine, Maryland and Washington. Minnesota voters will consider a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Latinos make up 11% of the population in Washington state.

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