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NJ Catholics Lead in Marriage Support Among Christians

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More Catholics in New Jersey support same-sex marriage than Protestants in the state, according to a new poll.

Despite opposition from leaders of the Catholic Church, 48% of New Jersey Catholics support same-sex marriage, while 40% oppose it, and 12% are undecided, according to a Rutgers-Eagleton Poll released Tuesday. A majority, 53%, of Catholics, said that if the legislature approves the pending marriage bill, it should be accepted as law.

"As with several social issues, many Catholics support a more liberal public policy than does the church itself," said Rutgers University professor and poll director David Redlawsk. "Given that Catholics comprise the largest religious group in the state, this makes a difference in overall support for gay marriage in New Jersey, especially since a majority of Protestants -- many of whom are evangelicals -- oppose the bill."

Among Protestants in New Jersey, only 34% support marriage equality, 55% oppose, it and 11% are undecided. Not surprisingly, 67% of those who identify as evangelical oppose marriage equality, and 24% are in support, with 9% undecided.

"The one religious group strongly opposed to gay marriage is evangelical Christians, whether they consider themselves Protestant or Catholic," said Redlawsk. "This group comprises 20% of respondents. The other 80% of respondents support gay marriage by margins of 12 to 40 points, depending on their religious preference."

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