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Half of American voters say same-sex marriage bill undermines religious freedom: survey

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Despite many voters expressing support for the so-called Respect for Marriage Act, a bill codifying federal legal protections for same-sex marriage that the Senate passed last week, most Americans are concerned about what impact this could have on religious freedom, according to a new survey. 

Rasmussen Reports released the results of a national survey Tuesday, finding that 62% of 1,000 likely U.S. voters approve of the Respect for Marriage Act that replaces existing provisions under federal law that protects any marriage between two individuals. 

The survey was conducted in conjunction with Pulse Opinion Research online and by phone from Nov. 30 to Dec. 1, and its margin of error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. 

According to the results, 40% strongly approve of the same-sex marriage bill, while 33% disapprove and 21% strongly disapprove. 

Voters who are among President Joe Biden’s strongest supporters were the most likely to approve of the bill. Among the group who strongly approve of the president’s job performance, 82% said that they approve of the same-sex marriage legislation. 

In contrast, among the group of voters who strongly disapprove of Biden’s performance, only 14% said that they approved of the bill. 

Regarding a provision in the bill that would allow “any person who is harmed” to file lawsuits against organizations that do not recognize same-sex marriage, 49% of voters said that they approve of it. Another 29% of voters said that they strongly approve of the provision.

However, 45% of respondents said that they disapprove of the provision, and 32% said that they strongly disapprove. 

After the bill passed the Senate last week, Ryan Bangert of Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal advocacy group, stated that the bill “undermines religious freedom everywhere and exposes Americans throughout the country to predatory lawsuits by activists seeking to use the threat of litigation to silence debate and exclude people of faith from the public square.” 

When asked if they agree with Bangert’s statement, 50% of voters said that they did, with 36% responding that they strongly agree. Thirty-nine percent of participants said that they disagreed with Bangert’s statement, and 26% said that they strongly disagree with it. Another 12% of participants said that they weren’t sure. 

In terms of support for the bill among different political parties, 81% of Democrats and 35% of Republicans at least somewhat approve of the legislation. Sixty-five percent of voters not affiliated with either party also somewhat approve of the bill. 

Seventy-one percent of Democrats and 25% of Republicans at least somewhat approve of the bill's provision that would allow “any person who is harmed” to file lawsuits against organizations that do not recognize same-sex marriage. Fifty-one percent of unaffiliated voters also said that they at least somewhat support the provision. 

More Republicans (64%), however, than Democrats (38%) or unaffiliated voters (49%) agree that the bill “undermines religious freedom everywhere.”

Opinions about the marriage act differed among racial categories, with 58% of whites and 73% of blacks, and 69% of other minorities responding that they support it at least somewhat. White voters (46%) were more likely than black voters (55%) or other minorities (54%) to agree that the bill “undermines religious freedom everywhere.” 

The likelihood that participants would support the same-sex marriage bill also appeared to differ among age groups. 

Seventy-five percent of voters younger than 40 at least somewhat approve of the act, compared to 58% of voters ages 40 to 60 and 52% of voters 65 and older. Voters within the 40 to 60 age range were more likely to agree that the bill “undermines religious freedom everywhere.”

Male voters (55%) were also more likely than female voters (45%) to agree with Bangert’s statement that the bill threatens religious freedom. In addition, the survey found that voters with a higher income were more likely to approve of the same-sex marriage bill than those with a lower income. 

As The Christian Post reported, the Senate voted 61-35 last week to codify same-sex marriage into federal law. Democrats voted unanimously for the Respect for Marriage Act, with 12 Republicans voting to support the measure. 

The Democratic Party had previously approved the bill in a 267-157 in July, where it had support from 49 Republicans. 

Samantha Kamman is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: samantha.kamman@christianpost.com.

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