A new survey has found that for the first time, a majority of Republicans support same-sex marriage.
As part of its annual American Values Atlas, the Public Religion Research Institute released a report Thursday finding broad support for pro-LGBT policies in the United States spanning across partisan, ethnic and religious lines. The results of the survey match findings of other studies showing rising support for such policies.
Overall, 67% of Americans support same-sex marriage. Support for allowing same-sex couples to marry is highest among Democrats (76%) and independents (72%). Notably, 51% of Republicans, who are seen as the party committed to defending traditional family values, said they support same-sex marriage. 2020 marked the first time a majority of Republicans surveyed in the American Values Atlas expressed support for same-sex marriage.
Same-sex marriage boasts majority support in nearly all religious groups. Seventy-six percent of Americans belonging to a religion other than Christianity support allowing same-sex couples to marry, along with 75% of white Catholics, 72% of white mainline Protestants and 71% of Hispanic Catholics. An overwhelming majority (81%) of religiously unaffiliated Americans support same-sex marriage.
Support for same-sex marriage is lower among black Protestants (57%), other Protestants of color (56%) and Hispanic Protestants (51%). Less than half of evangelical Protestants of all races support same-sex marriage. Support is lowest among Hispanic evangelical Protestants (41%), followed by evangelical Protestants of another race (43%), white evangelical Protestants (43%), and black evangelical Protestants (49%).
As Congress considers the Equality Act, a wide-reaching measure that includes nondiscrimination protections for LGBT individuals, the American Values Atlas found broad support for such policies in the American public. When asked if they supported "laws that protect gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people against discrimination in jobs, public accommodations, and housing," 76% of Americans answered in the affirmative.
Support for nondiscrimination protections for LGBT individuals reaches 85% among Democrats and 78% among independents. While support for nondiscrimination protections is lower among Republicans, they still receive majority support (62%).
Among conservative Republicans, support for nondiscrimination protection measures at 59%. This number rises to 73% among liberal Republicans and 75% among moderate Republicans. Independents (86%) and Democrats (91%) who describe themselves as liberal overwhelmingly favor nondiscrimination protections for LGBT individuals.
Moderate Democrats (83%) and independents (81%) favor nondiscrimination protections by wide margins, while conservative Democrats (73%) and Democrats (69%) support the protections by less sizable but still substantial margins.
Reflecting the results of other surveys, support for LGBT nondiscrimination protections is highest among Americans between the ages of 18-29, 81% of whom support LGBT policies. Support declines among older age groups, with 81% of Americans between the ages of 30 and 49 favoring nondiscrimination policies, along with 72% of Americans between the ages of 50 and 64, and 65% of those over the age of 65.
The age gap surrounding support for nondiscrimination protections is also evident within partisan groups. Commanding majorities of Republicans (70%), independents (84%), and Democrats (89%) under the age of 50 support nondiscrimination protections for LGBT individuals. Smaller majorities of Republicans (56%), independents (71%) and Democrats (81%) over the age of 50 favor the measures.
Within religious communities, younger members are more likely than older members to favor nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people. Seventy-three percent of white evangelical Protestants younger than 50 support the protections compared to 56% of their counterparts age 50 and older. Among other Protestants of color, 80% of those younger than age 50 support nondiscrimination protections, while 66% of those age 50 and older said the same.
Support for nondiscrimination protections stands at 80% among black Protestants under the age of 50, 66% among black Protestants over the age of 50, 88% among white mainline Protestants younger than 50, 75% of white mainline Protestants older than 50, 83% among younger white Catholics, 72% among older white Catholics, 71% among younger Hispanic Protestants, 62% among older Hispanic Protestants, 84% of Hispanic Catholics younger than 50, and 75% among Hispanic Catholics older than 50.
The survey also found that women are more likely than men to support nondiscrimination protections for LGBT individuals. Sixty-eight percent of Republican women support the policies compared to 57% of their male counterparts. While independent women (82%) are more likely than independent men (75%) to favor nondiscrimination protections, the difference in support among female and male Democrats is minimal (87% as opposed to 83%).
Majorities of all religious groups support nondiscrimination protections for LGBT individuals. The support was highest among religiously unaffiliated Americans (82%), white mainline Protestants (82%), Hispanic Catholics (81%) and Jewish Americans (79%).
Significant majorities of Mormons (78%), white Catholics (77%), other Catholics of color (74%), and black Protestants (73%) also support codifying protections for LGBT individuals into law. The groups that are least likely to support such measures were white evangelical Protestants (62%), Hispanic Protestants (68%) and other Protestants of color (72%).
The American Values Atlas also found that a supermajority of Americans (61%) oppose allowing small businesses to "refuse to provide products or services to gay or lesbian people, if doing so violates their religious beliefs." While a plurality of white evangelical Protestants (49%) support allowing business owners to abide by their religious beliefs, pluralities or majorities of all other religious groups oppose religiously based service refusals.
A plurality of Mormons (49%) oppose religiously based service refusals, along with a majority of Hispanic Protestants (54%), other Protestants of color (56%), white mainline Protestants (59%), white Catholics (60%), Hispanic Catholics (62%), other Catholics of color (64%), religiously unaffiliated Americans (70%), black Protestants (70%), and Jews (71%). Less than half of Republicans (42%) oppose religiously based service refusals compared to majorities of independents (62%) and Democrats (73%).
The survey concluded with an analysis of support for the "pro-LGBTQ policies" of legal same-sex marriage, nondiscrimination protections for LGBT individuals and opposition to religiously based service refusals. Forty-two percent of Americans were classified as "completely in favor of pro-LGBTQ policies," 27% were "somewhat in favor of pro-LGBTQ policies," 13% were "somewhat against pro-LGBTQ policies" and 7% were "completely against pro-LGBTQ policies."
White evangelicals were the most likely group to be "completely against pro-LGBTQ policies," while religiously unaffiliated Americans were the most likely group to be "completely in favor of pro-LGBTQ policies."
Although a majority of Americans support the provision of the Equality Act guaranteeing nondiscrimination protections for the LGBT community, other parts of the legislation are far less popular with the American public. A poll released last year found that 67% of Americans opposed allowing biological males who identify as females to compete in women's sports, while less than 60% of likely voters opposed allowing biological males who identify as females to use women's restrooms and locker rooms.
The 2020 American Values Atlas was based on responses collected from 50,334 adults between Jan. 7, 2020, and Dec. 20, 2020.