As Pope Tours American Cities, Catholic Support for LGBT Non-Discrimination SurgesBy Megan Clayton • September 22, 2015 • 5:28 pm
This week, Pope Francis of the Roman Catholic Church is visiting several American cities for the first time, grabbing headlines in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and New York City. The visit is a great chance to reflect on the overwhelming number of Catholics in the United States who support LGBT people – and specifically support comprehensive non-discrimination protections for LGBT people.
Despite the fact that the Vatican’s stated views remain largely opposed to LGBT people, the reality is that increasingly, those views don’t line up with what Catholics really believe. A poll from last month found that 66% of Americans support families with same-sex couples as the heads of household.
Another poll from this summer found that an 83% supermajority of Catholic voters support LGBT-inclusive employment protections. That’s five percentage points higher than the national overall. The numbers show that Catholics are leading in support for LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination protections: The same poll showed that 62% of Catholics (compared with 56% of the nation as a whole) oppose RFRA laws that allow small businesses to refuse services to LGBT people for religious reasons (62 percent and 56 percent, respectively).
These numbers shouldn’t be surprising: Many religious teachings – including the Catholic faith – are steeped in the values of treating people fairly and equally. Children learn, from a young age, the Golden Rule – to treat people like they would like to be treated. Increasingly, people of faith are taking a public stand for LGBT equality and acknowledging that they support comprehensive non-discrimination protections because of their faith, not in spite of it.