Though the number of religiously unaffiliated people who support marriage equality is at an all-time high, percentages of white Protestants and Catholics who are supportive are also on the rise.
A third of the people who participated in the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life said their minds changed on marriage equality because someone they know — either family, friend, or other acquaintance — came out to them as LGBT. Equal percentages of people, 18%, said they now support marriage equality because it's either inevitable and the world is changing, or because they think the government should no longer dictate marriage on a personal level.
Only 13% of white evangelicals supported marriage equality in 2001. While only 23% support marriage rights for same-sex couples 12 years later, the increase has come mainly in the last four years. Figures among black Protestants has remained essentially the same, with 30% supporting marriage in 2001, a steep drop in 2004, and then 32% supporting marriage equality now.
Meanwhile, Catholics and mainline Protestants have shown steady increases in their support for marriage equality since 2009. Among Catholics, 54% support marriage equality, up from 40% in 2001. Fifty-five percent of mainline Protestants support marriage equality, up from 38% in 2001.
Overall, 56% of Americans said extending marriage rights to same-sex couples would go against their religious beliefs, though that percentage has even dropped six points since 2003.
The survey was performed in March among 1,501 adults in the U.S.