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SAN DIEGO -- A new national study has found that Catholics are more supportive of legal recognition of same-sex relationships than any other Christian group, and than Americans overall.
The study, released March 22 by the Public Religion Research Institute, showed that 74% of American Catholics believe that gay and lesbian couples should be able to marry or form civil unions.
In addition, 71% of Catholics support civil marriage “like you get at civic hall.”
Catholics also show strong support for lesbian and gay people on other issues. Nearly three-quarters of American Catholics (73%) favor laws that would prohibit workplace discrimination against gay people, 63% support allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military, and 60% support allowing gay and lesbian people to adopt children.
“American Catholics clearly understand the name of their faith better than do the bishops — ‘Catholic’ means ‘universal,’ which means ‘inclusive of all.’ Most Catholics live in the real world and interact with gay and lesbian people, often members of their own families, and they see that we are human beings with the same concerns as theirs,” said Brian Kelly, president of Dignity/San Diego, the local affiliate of DignityUSA, an organization of LGBT Catholics.
“It’s encouraging to see that when outdated doctrine and mature experience conflict, most Catholics go with experience,” he said.
Kelly noted that many political commentators wrongly assume that Catholics as a bloc are more conservative than average.
“Lawrence O’Donnell hit it spot-on in his recent commentary on MSNBC,” Kelly said. “Commentators who perpetuate this myth of ‘conservative Catholics’ obviously don’t know what they’re talking about, so why should you believe anything else they say?”
The institutional Roman Catholic Church continues to teach that all homosexual acts, regardless of context or intention, are immoral and that homosexual people are “intrinsically disordered.”
“It’s time for the Church’s leaders to re-examine these teachings in the light of the experience and wisdom of the laity,” Kelly said. “To do otherwise is to sin against LGBT people and the God who made them.”
DignityUSA is the nation’s foremost organization of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Catholics and their supporters. Dignity/San Diego has provided spiritual support, education, and resources in California since 1972.