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Poll: 40 percent of Illinois Catholics favor gay marriage

Monday, Oct 1, 2012

* The Paul Simon Public Policy Institute’s crosstabs don’t separate out Catholics into their own category. So, I asked the good folks over there to go back and do so. They did. Here’s the Catholic response on gay marriage/civil unions

Notice that slightly fewer Catholics favor gay marriage than the state as a whole, but fewer Catholics oppose all legal recognition than the rest of the state.


- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - paddyrollingstone - Monday, Oct 1, 12 @ 11:56 am:

    My wife and I are church going Catholics and at least in our Parish this would seem to be the view but we live in Evanston so that’s to be expected. Very interesting that the view in our liberal community is similar to Catholics in the whole state.

  2. - Hey There - Monday, Oct 1, 12 @ 12:18 pm:

    The Church’s views will soon be left behind by its flock–again.

  3. - wordslinger - Monday, Oct 1, 12 @ 12:20 pm:

    I’m not surprised at all, given my church-going Catholic friends. Social justice concerns are very strong among them.

  4. - hisgirlfriday - Monday, Oct 1, 12 @ 12:28 pm:

    Interesting that lay Catholics are more receptive to the idea of some legal recognition for gay couples than the rest of the populace.

    Besides the social justice angle, I wonder if Catholics are simply more accustomed to the idea of their church being out of step with modern marital realities than other religious sects given the way that the Catholic church’s position on divorce has been so different than the state’s position on divorce. Thus, the idea of the state having a different position on marriage than their church is not as foreign for Catholics than say it is as difficult for Baptists to comprehend.

  5. - mokenavince - Monday, Oct 1, 12 @ 12:53 pm:

    The Bishops and the powers that be rail against
    it. Their always in touch with their folck.

    The flock is alway a century ahead of their

  6. - Cheryl44 - Monday, Oct 1, 12 @ 12:59 pm:

    So roughly 75-80% of Illinoyances favor some legal recognition of same sex marriage. That’s a much higher percentage than I would have thought.

  7. - Gregor Samsa - Monday, Oct 1, 12 @ 1:36 pm:

    I’m not surprised because modern Catholic teaching is centered around the New Testament, rejecting the extremes of the Old Testament, and that’s all about social justice and tolerance and reaching out to understand one another. If you preach that every Sunday, people start to apply it to their thinking in lay affairs.

  8. - Stuff happens - Monday, Oct 1, 12 @ 1:50 pm:

    I’ve been considering switching to Episcopalian.

    The recent video from the bishop in Springfield saying that the eternal salvation of my soul was in jeopardy if I voted for a Democrat just put me off even further.

  9. - Wensicia - Monday, Oct 1, 12 @ 1:50 pm:

    Maybe many Catholics don’t believe their Church should force its beliefs on others.

  10. - wishbone - Monday, Oct 1, 12 @ 2:27 pm:

    Catholics are so much better than their leadership. I just wish I could say the same about Republicans. ;-)

  11. - Sunshine - Monday, Oct 1, 12 @ 3:06 pm:

    What are the Jewish opinions as such relates to same sex marriage?

    Why are folks so interested in the Catholic take? What about protestants, and Hindu, and Muslim?

  12. - Rich Miller - Monday, Oct 1, 12 @ 3:17 pm:

    ===Why are folks so interested in the Catholic take?===

    Largest religion in Illinois which also has a very politically engaged leadership. The governor, the speaker, the Senate President are all Roman Catholic.

  13. - RMWStanford - Monday, Oct 1, 12 @ 3:20 pm:

    I would assume that part of the reason for the interest is that there have been a number of vocal Catholic bishops recently on the subject of gay marriage.

  14. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Oct 1, 12 @ 3:20 pm:

    Pew did a telling national poll a year ago that didn’t include the option of civil unions. On the straight-up question of gay marriage, here’s what Pew found:

    White Catholics: 57% favor, 35% opposed
    Hispanic Catholics: 42% favor, 42% opposed

    Sounds like a good issue for Democrats among white Catholics to me.


    Go see for yourself.

    You’ll rarely see crosstabs for Jews, Muslims and Hindus because they make up a relatively small percent of Americans so the sample size and crosstabs aren’t that reliable.

  15. - BigDoggie - Monday, Oct 1, 12 @ 3:21 pm:

    As a lifelong Catholic I would say that this is indicative of why our church is struggling to keep and/or gain parishoners. The church is maddeningly locked into their archaic beliefs. We’re in the midst of a serious lack of new priests, yet the church still refuses to allow female priests and/or married priests, or even female deacons. They will not adjust to the times, and as such are destined to keep losing numbers because of it.

  16. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Oct 1, 12 @ 4:26 pm:

    Why are we ‘picking on’ Catholics?

    Okay, we’re not. There just happens to be a lot more data, and it’s more interesting since (a) Catholics are viewed as swing voters and (2) the Catholic Church is hip-deep in politics.

    That said, from Pew:

    “1- Homosexuality is a way of life that should be accepted by society, OR 2 - Homosexuality is a way of life that should be discouraged by society.”

    Percent who say it should be accepted:

    Buddhists - 82%
    Jews - 79%
    Agnostics - 71%
    Misc Christians - 69%
    Catholics - 58%
    Protestants - 56%

    National Average - 50%

    Orthodox - 48%
    Hindu - 48%
    Black Protestant - 39%
    Muslim - 27%
    Evangelical - 26%
    Mormon - 24%
    Jehovah’s Witness - 12%

  17. - Wensicia - Monday, Oct 1, 12 @ 4:46 pm:


    Do you have a link to your 4:26 poll results?

  18. - Wensicia - Monday, Oct 1, 12 @ 5:22 pm:

    I found it:

  19. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Oct 1, 12 @ 7:58 pm:

    @Wensicia -

    Here’s a broader data set with more info:

    Interesting factoid:

    We usually think of Evangelicals of being pretty hardline Conservatives, but they are actually fairly evenly divided on the question of Bigger Government v. Smaller Government: 41-48.

  20. - Esquire - Monday, Oct 1, 12 @ 9:31 pm:

    Define “Catholic.” Many people who have effectively left the Church, continue to self-identify as “Catholic” for polls. Their input into a poll may differ greatly from those who attend Masses on a consistent basis. For the sake of comparison, Orthodox Jews seemed to be consistently more conservative than others who attended services once or twice per year.

    Frances Kissling used to be quoted in the media constantly as the leader of “Catholics for Free Choice” (a pro-choice group). Later, it was discovered that her organization had no other members — she was a solo act.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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