Catholics Back Same-Sex Marriage: Poll

A majority of U.S. Catholic voters back same-sex marriage, according to a Quinnipiac University poll out today that also shows majority support for relaxing the church’s prohibition against birth control and for President Barack Obama’s policy requiring religious-based institutions outside of houses of worship to provide their employees with access to birth control through their insurers.

The Quinnipiac survey taken Feb. 27-Mar. 4 showed 54 percent of Catholic voters supporting same-sex marriage, with 38 percent in opposition. That outpaced voters overall, who backed same-sex marriage by 47 percent to 43 percent.

“Catholic voters are leading American voters toward support for same-sex marriage,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac polling institute in Hamden, Connecticut.

Sixty-four percent of adult Catholics said the next pope should relax the church’s prohibition on contraception, while 28 percent disagreed. And by 51 percent to 41 percent, they approved of the Obama administration policy requiring church-based institutions, such as universities and hospitals, to provide access to birth control for employees through their insurance companies. The institutions themselves would not have to pay for coverage.

The survey also found 62 percent of Catholics saying the next pope should allow priests to marry and 81 percent calling on the church to do more to prevent sexual abuse by priests.

The poll of 497 adult Catholics had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points. A larger poll of 1,944 registered voters had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.2 percentage points.

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