Social Policy & Politics Program | Report

Americans Agree: Marriage for Gay Couples Doesn’t Threaten Religious Liberty

by Sarah Trumble, Lanae Erickson Hatalsky and David Stacy

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Thirty percent of the country now lives in a state where gay couples can marry, and Americans’ views are warming faster than ever. But the shrinking group of politicians who still oppose allowing gay couples to marry often argues that doing so would infringe on the religious liberty of marriage opponents.

Third Way and the Human Rights Campaign joined forces to field a national poll to find out where the country currently stands on marriage, non-discrimination laws, and proposals which would allow businesses like restaurants, florists, photographers, and bakers to turn away gay people and couples. The results of our national poll are clear:

  • Americans know that our laws and Constitution already robustly protect religious liberty, and they do not think marriage or non-discrimination laws threaten religious beliefs or practices.
  • Voters oppose new proposals which would allow government employees, businesses, or individuals who oppose marriage on religious grounds to deny services to gay people or couples.
  • When it comes to religious exemptions, voters are clear that they should be limited to places like churches and synagogues and people like pastors, priests, and rabbis.

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