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New Poll: LGBT Issues a Civil Rights Matter, Marriage Equality 'Inevitable'

New Poll: LGBT Issues a Civil Rights Matter, Marriage Equality 'Inevitable'

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The poll, by a Southern Baptist-affiliated firm, finds many Americans disagreeing with the church's antigay dogma.

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LifeWay Christian Resources, a research, publishing, and church-supplies group affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, has a new survey out indicating widespread support for LGBT rights among the U.S. population -- a view that runs contrary to Southern Baptist doctrine.

The survey, released Tuesday, was not confined to Southern Baptists but sought a representative sample of the U.S. population, who disagreed with the church on several matters. Some 58% of respondents agreed that "like age, race, and gender, homosexuality is a civil rights issue." Last year the denomination adopted a resolution taking the opposite stand, reading, "We deny that the effort to legalize 'same-sex marriage' qualifies as a civil rights issue since homosexuality does not qualify as a class meriting special protections, like race and gender."

The survey also found that 82% of respondents thought it wrong to deny a person employment because of their sexual orientation, again running counter to the Southern Baptist view, with the denomination in 2010 having adopted a policy of "profound opposition" to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would outlaw such discrimination.

Sixty-four percent of those polled said same-sex marriage will inevitably become legal throughout the United States. Opinions varied on whether various wedding professionals should be able to deny services to gay couples. Sixty-seven percent thought clergy members should be allowed to refuse to perform same-sex weddings. (Incidentally, no state with marriage equality requires clergy members to perform marriages that go against their beliefs.) Fifty-eight percent thought photographers should have the right to deny their services, and 40% thought rental-hall operators should be able to refuse to host same-sex weddings. However, 67% thought it was wrong for landlords to refuse to rent housing to legally married same-sex couples.

"Clearly, Americans believe the prerogative exists for individuals such as clergy or photographers to deny services for same-sex marriage," LifeWay Research president Ed Stetzer said in a press release. "However, the level of agreement changes with scenarios that could be interpreted as more basic rights such as housing and employment."

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Trudy Ring

Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.
Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.