Christian Pollsters Find “Homosexual Behavior” Gaining Moral Ground

The conservative Christian pollster Lifeway has released its latest results to the perennial question, “Do you believe homosexual behavior is a sin?” Turns out, only 37% of those they polled said, “Yes.” That’s down 7% from the 44% who called “homosexual behavior” a sin just over a year ago. Now, 45% say “homosexual behavior” is not sinful.

The poll mirrors a Gallup poll from last May showing that 54% of those queried said gay and lesbian relationships were morally acceptable, with 42% morally disapproving. That poll also shows a whopping 63% supporting marriage equality for gays and lesbians.

Lifeway’s next poll will likely show even more in the “No” column as those “undecided” on the issue grew from 13% to 17% since their last poll. Evidence of growth within the “moveable middle” and Louis Giglio’s swift withdrawal from Pres. Barack Obama’s inauguration after an anti-gay sermon surfaced (and much prevarication after its discovery from Giglio), is certainly a sign that homosexuality, for the large portion of the population, will soon be a non-issue.

David Cole gives a good rundown on the recent progress gays and lesbians have made:

Today, two-thirds of Americans, including Rush Limbaugh, support civil unions for same-sex couples; nine states and the District of Columbia have recognized gay marriage; and nine more have recognized same-sex civil unions or domestic partnerships with all or most of the benefits associated with marriage. In the 2012 election, after an unbroken string of losses on popular referenda, gay marriage proponents prevailed on all four state ballot initiatives addressing the issue. Voters in Maryland, Maine, and Washington approved referenda expressly authorizing the recognition of gay marriage, and Minnesota voters rejected an amendment banning gay marriage.

Organizations like the National Organization for Marriage are not giving up yet, continuing to raise money to fight marriage equality. But, even NOM’s leader Maggie Gallagher has conceded that marriage equality will eventually rule the day, saying “[Justice Anthony] Kennedy will overturn DOMA (perhaps joined by Roberts) and then uphold the right of states to refuse to accept gay marriage (i.e. uphold Prop. 8).”

Organizations like NOM do, however, continue to wield power in the GOP. Another poll reveals that most Republicans prefer to avoid the issue of homosexuality and marriage equality all together, “so as not to alienate the base,” said one respondent. That base, of course, being the religious right and their rabidly anti-gay faction.

The National Journal poll showed “48% of Republican respondents choosing ‘My party should avoid the issue’ when asked which of several statements most closely mirrors their view on same-sex marriage. Twenty-seven percent said the party should support marriage equality, 11% said it should oppose it, and 14% chose ‘other.’”

Some Republicans, however, realize that ignoring the religious right, and the “gay issue” won’t make either of them go away and urged their fellow GOPers to stand up for marriage equality, since it really is a Republican value. As the National Journal reports, one such insider offered: “We can’t be a party that supports a zone of personal freedom and then try to use federal power to curtail it. Plus, we increasingly look prejudiced, and not a little stupid, on this issue.”

It would be nice if the GOP would support marriage equality because they truly are not prejudiced instead of fearing that they might “look prejudiced,” but it’s a good first step.

Candace Chellew-Hodge is the founder/editor of Whosoever: An Online Magazine for GLBT Christians and currently serves as the pastor of Jubilee! Circle in Columbia, S.C. She is also the author of Bulletproof Faith: A Spiritual Survival Guide for Gay and Lesbian Christians (Jossey-Bass, 2008)