The Southern Baptist Convention’s polling arm LifeWay is out with a new poll revealing widespread support for gay rights, particularly among young people. According to the survey, a clear majority of Americans believe that “homosexuality is a civil rights issue like gender, race and age,” agree that same-sex marriage is “inevitable” and oppose employment discrimination against gays and lesbians.
The denomination is a fierce critic of marriage equality and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, and last year passed a resolution “opposing the idea that gay rights are the same as civil rights.”
Richard Land, the denomination’s top political spokesman, has claimed that the Devil is behind homosexuality and warned that gay rights will lead to divine judgment and “paganization.” While the SBC believes it is wrong to consider gay rights a civil rights issues, Land compared his own anti-gay activism to Martin Luther King Jr.’s leadership of the Civil Rights Movement.
Key findings from the poll include:
- 64 percent of those polled agreed “it is inevitable that same-sex marriage will become legal throughout the United States.”
- “80 percent of Americans disagree that employers should be allowed to refuse employment to someone based on their sexual preference.”
- 58 percent of respondents agreed with the question: “like age, race, and gender, homosexuality is a civil rights issue.”
- A majority of Americans believe rental halls and landlords should not be allowed to discriminate against same-sex couples.
- “More Americans do not believe homosexual behavior is a sin than those who believe it is a sin.”
The poll also found that women, young people and people with college degrees were more likely to favor gay rights.
LifeWay’s survey appears to line up with a new bipartisan analysis of exit polls which found that opposition to marriage equality is concentrated among the elderly, white evangelical Christians and people without college degrees.