Most Protestant pastors oppose gay marriage, mainline support stalling: survey


Most Protestant pastors in the United States continue to oppose same-sex marriage, and the previously growing trend of support among mainline clergy is stalling, according to a recent report by Lifeway Research.

In a report released Tuesday, Lifeway found that, in 2023, 21% of surveyed Protestant pastors said they saw “nothing wrong” with same-sex marriage, which was a slight decrease compared to the 24% of pastors who said the same in 2019.

Even among pastors belonging to theologically progressive mainline denominations, Lifeway found that less than half (46%) support same-sex marriage, which was virtually the same (47%) in 2019, though still well above the 32% reported in 2010.

Get Our Latest News for FREE

Subscribe to get daily/weekly email with the top stories (plus special offers!) from The Christian Post. Be the first to know.

Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research, stated in Lifeway that the “previous growth was seen most clearly among mainline pastors, and that level did not rise in our latest survey.”

“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 McConnell.

The report drew from a survey of 1,004 Protestant pastors conducted Aug. 29, 2023, through Sept. 20, 2023, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2% at the 95% confidence level.  

Additionally, the report found that only 7% of Evangelical pastors supported gay marriage, that pastors aged 18 to 44 were more likely to support same-sex marriage than pastors over the age of 65 (27% vs. 15%), and that only 8% of pastors of churches with over 250 regular attendees saw nothing wrong with gay marriage.

In March, the Public Religion Research Institute released its 2023 American Values Atlas, which also found a slight decrease in support for same-sex marriage and LGBT nondiscrimination protections among the general population.

Specifically, the PRRI report found that support for "laws that would protect gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people against discrimination in jobs, public accommodations, and housing" went from 80% in 2022 to 76% in 2023. Additionally, support for same-sex marriage dipped from 69% in 2022 to 67% in 2023.

"Our survey shows that support for LGBTQ rights has dipped slightly from 2022 to 2023, although the vast majority of Americans continue to endorse anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ Americans and the right of same-sex couples to marry," stated PRRI CEO Melissa Deckman.

“The growing partisan divide on these issues show the effect of the continuous use of LGBTQ identity and LGBTQ rights as a wedge issue in our nation's culture wars.”

Follow Michael Gryboski on Twitter or Facebook

Was this article helpful?

Help keep The Christian Post free for everyone.

By making a recurring donation or a one-time donation of any amount, you're helping to keep CP's articles free and accessible for everyone.

We’re sorry to hear that.

Hope you’ll give us another try and check out some other articles. Return to homepage.

Most Popular

More Articles