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STUDY: Large Number of American Catholics Are Pro-LGBT Families

STUDY: Large Number of American Catholics Are Pro-LGBT Families


A study released by Pew Research shows that the family values of American Catholics differ greatly from those of the Vatican.

Pope Francis arrives in the United States later this month for the World Meeting of Families. It's his first visit to the United States since becoming pope, and he'll be welcomed by U.S. Catholics with much different ideas than the Vatican about families.

In a new study released by the Pew Research Center, American Catholics express openness to nontraditional families. In many cases, Catholics say families led by same-sex couples are just as good as the long-held Catholic ideal of a married man and woman.

The majority of American Catholics are open to children being raised by same-sex couples, with 43 percent saying same-sex couples as parents would be just as good as any other arrangement for raising children. Another 23 percent say the arrangement is acceptable but not ideal, while 27 percent find it unacceptable. In total, that's 66 percent of American Catholics supporting LGBT families.

But the old Catholic ideal has not vanished. Notably, American Catholics favored same-sex couples as parents over single parents or divorced-parent homes. Only 38 percent of respondents found single-parent homes to be just as good as other arrangements and only 31 percent found divorced parents to be acceptable.

And the study found that the more often respondents went to Mass, the less likely they were to be in favor of LGBT-led families.

"Among Catholics who say they attend Mass weekly, six-in-10 think that a gay or lesbian couple raising children is either unacceptable (36 percent) or acceptable but not as good as some other arrangements for raising children (25 percent)," notes the Pew researchers. "Just 34 percent say a same-sex couple raising children is as good as any other family configuration."

Similarly, Catholics are split when it comes to the sinfulness of sex between these partners. As many as 44 percent called it a sin, yet 39 percent said it was not a sin (the other 17 percent were categorized as "other"). Opinions of the respondents were also influenced on this question depending on how often they attended mass.

The findings came from Pew Research Center's 2015 Survey on U.S. Catholics and Family Life. It was conducted from May 5 to June 7 using landlines and cell phones with a national sample of 5,122 adults.

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