American Catholics are more progressive about gay rights than Americans are as a whole, argues the New York Times’ Frank Bruni in his latest column. Using findings from the American Values Atlas, Bruni points out that our stereotypical views of Catholics’ stance on cultural issues such as same-sex marriage may be ill advised: 60 percent of American Catholics support allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry legally, six-percentage points higher than Americans overall:
In an especially ambitious survey conducted over the course of 2014 by the Public Religion Research Institute, about 60 percent of Americans who called themselves Catholic said that they approved of same-sex marriage, versus about 30 percent who didn’t. The spread among all respondents was 54 to 38, and the group that clearly stood in the way of same-sex marriage wasn’t Catholics. It was evangelical Protestants.
Bruni goes on to say that American political figures that use their devout Catholicism to oppose same-sex marriage—including Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, Chris Christie and Marco Rubio—are amongst the minority of Catholics.