Homosexuality and Religion

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Opposition to gay marriage has increased since the summer and a narrow majority of Americans also oppose allowing gays and lesbians to enter legal agreements that fall short of marriage. Moreover, despite the overall rise in tolerance toward gays since the 1980s, many Americans remain highly critical of homosexuals ­ and religious belief is a major factor in these attitudes. A 55% majority believes it is a sin to engage in homosexual behavior, and that view is much more prevalent among those who have a high level of religious commitment (76%). About half of all Americans have an unfavorable opinion of gay men (50%) and lesbians (48%), but highly religious people are much more likely to hold negative views. Religiosity is clearly a…show more content…
But there is evidence that this issue could become problematic for the Democratic presidential nominee. Voters who support President Bush are largely of one mind on this issue: More than three-quarters (78%) of voters who favor the president 's reelection in 2004 oppose gay marriage; more than half (53%) strongly oppose the idea. But voters who prefer to see a Democrat elected in 2004 are divided ­ 46% favor gay marriage, 48% oppose. A substantial minority of these Democratic-leaning voters strongly oppose gay marriage (25%). The survey also shows that Americans remain deeply divided over the essential cause and nature of homosexuality. A 42% plurality believes that being a homosexual "is just the way that some people prefer to live," no change from a Los Angeles Times survey conducted in 1985. But there has been a rise in the percentage who say homosexuality is "something that people are born with" ­ from 20% in the Times survey to 30% currently. The public also is split on the question of whether a gay person 's sexual orientation can be changed ­ 42% say it can, the same number disagrees. Still, most Americans say they are comfortable interacting socially with homosexuals. Just one-in-five say they are uncomfortable around homosexuals, while 76% say they do not mind being around gays. Highly religious white evangelicals are more likely to say they are
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