Most Pastors Still Oppose Same-Sex Marriage

Levels of support for LGBTQ relationships have plateaued among Protestant clergy.

Almost a decade after the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage across the country, most pastors remain opposed, and the supporting percentage isn’t growing any larger.

One in 5 US Protestant pastors (21%) say they see nothing wrong with two people of the same gender getting married, according to a Lifeway Research study.

Three in 4 (75%) are opposed, including 69 percent who strongly disagree with same-sex marriage. Another 4 percent say they aren’t sure.

Previous Lifeway Research studies found growing support among pastors. In 2010, 15 percent of US Protestant pastors had no moral issues with the practice. The percentage in favor grew to 24 percent in 2019. Today, support is statistically unchanged at 21 percent.

“Debates continue within denominations at national and judicatory levels on the morality of same-sex marriage, yet the overall number of Protestant pastors who support same-sex marriage is not growing,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research. “The previous growth was seen most clearly among mainline pastors, and that level did not rise in our latest survey.”

Pastors are slightly more supportive of legal civil unions between two people of the same gender, but most still disagree. Currently, 28 percent back such arrangements, statistically unchanged from the 32 percent in 2019 and 28 percent in 2018.

The previous growth in clergy support of same-sex marriages was driven by US mainline Protestant pastors. In 2010, a third (32%) were in favor. By 2019, almost half (47%) saw nothing wrong. Current support among self-identified mainline pastors remains at similar levels (46%).

Evangelical pastors have been consistently opposed to same-sex marriage. Fewer than 1 …

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