Gay Marriage Favored by Majority of Latinos in United States
An Oct. 18, 2012 study by the Pew Hispanic Center and the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found that 52% of Latinos favor legalizing gay marriage while 34% oppose legalization. The numbers are an almost exact reversal from 2006 when 31% of Latinos favored legalization and 56% were opposed.
The numbers align with the current overall trend in the US; a July 2012 Pew Forum of Religion and Public Life found 48% of Americans support same-sex marriage while 44% were opposed. In 2006, 35% were in favor and 55% were opposed. Similarly, 59% of US Latinos and 60% of Americans in general now believe that “homosexuality should be accepted by society.”
Religion divides the Latino vote on same-sex marriage. Sixty-six percent of Latino evangelicals remain opposed to same-sex marriage, while 54% of Latino Catholics favor marriage equality. An April 2012 National Council of La Raza poll found 67% of Catholic Latinos (almost 60% of Latinos are Catholic), 43% of Latino Protestants, and 79% of atheist or agnostic Latinos support same-sex marriage.
Gustavo Torres, Executive Director of the largest Latino organization in the state, CASA de Maryland, said, “We are very confident that Latinos understand the value of families… If we communicate very clearly that someone wants to be married to someone that he or she loves, that is the most important thing.”
Reverend Sam Rodriguez, President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, stated, “We are both pro-traditional marriage and anti-homophobia… This is about the government saying, we are going to hijack a religious doctrine and change it for you.” Forty percent of Latinos who attend religious services regularly and 46% of Latinos who attend Mass weekly support same-sex marriage, while 60% of Latinos who do not attend weekly services are in favor of legalization. Thirty-eight percent of Latinos who attend religious services at least once a month reported hearing clergy preach against homosexuality.
Same-sex marriage is legal in six states (CT, IA, NH, NY, MA, and VT), three states have no gay marriage laws (NJ, NM, and RI), and same-sex marriage is banned in the other 41 states. Same-sex marriage appears on ballots in Washington, Minnesota, Maryland, and Maine. Latinos make up 23.7 million eligible voters, or 11% of the nation’s eligible electorate.
Drew Joseph, “Most Latinos Back Gay Marriage, Poll Says,” sfgate.com, Oct. 18, 2012
Bryan Llenas and Roque Planas, “Obama’s Support of Gay Marriage Sparks Strong Reactions from Latinos,” latino.foxnews.com, May 9, 2012
Sebastian Montes, “Do Hispanic-Americans in Maryland Support Same-Sex Marriage?,” elkridgepatch.com, Oct. 23, 2012
Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, “Changing Attitudes on Gay Marriage,” pewforum.org, July 2012
Pew Global Attitudes Project, “The American-Western European Values Gap,” pewglobal.org, Feb. 29, 2012
Pew Hispanic Center, “When Labels Don’t Fit: Hispanics and Their Views of Identity,” pewhispanic.org, Apr. 4, 2012
Pew Hispanic Center and the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, “Latinos, Religion and Campaign 2012,” pewforum.org, Oct. 18, 2012