According to new LifeWay Research survey results, 58 percent of American adults agree it is a civil rights issue and 64 percent believe it is inevitable same-sex marriage will become legal throughout the United States. The survey also asked respondents if pastors should be able to refuse to marry same-sex couples: 63 percent agree and 27 percent disagree that pastors should be allowed to refuse to officiate same-sex weddings if they are made legal in their state.
Lesser percentages agree that photographers, landlords, employers, and others should be able to refuse services or employment to homosexual couples: 58 percent agree that photographers should be allowed to refuse to work same-sex weddings if they are made legal in their state. 40 percent agree that rental halls should be allowed to refuse to rent out their facilities for same-sex weddings, 27 percent agree landlords should be allowed to refuse to rent housing to same-sex couples, and 14 percent agree employers should be allowed to refuse employment to someone based on their sexual preference.
“Clearly, Americans believe the prerogative exists for individuals such as clergy or photographers to deny services for same-sex marriage,” said Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research. “However, the level of agreement changes with scenarios that could be interpreted as more basic rights such as housing and employment.”
Consistent in all scenarios of the survey, men are more likely than women to agree these individuals should have the right to refuse services, rental agreements, or employment – as are Americans calling themselves “born-again, evangelical or fundamentalist Christian.”
“President Obama states that his justification for supporting same-sex marriage is the Golden Rule — the idea that we should treat others justly, as we would want to be treated,” wrote Stetzer on his blog about the survey. “So we should not be shocked at the responses in this survey. Many people believe that those opposed to same-sex marriage are discriminating against other people — much like keeping African-Americans out of a certain section of a restaurant or bus. They see that as unjust and those who practice such as bigoted.”