Survey: N.C. one of only 6 states where majority doesn’t support marriage equality

All six states are based in the South

A new survey from the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) shows increasing support for marriage equality across almost all states, faith communities, races and other social groups — with only few glaring exceptions, North Carolina among them.

The new data comes from PRRI’s 2017 American Values Atlas, showing that, overall, 61 percent of Americans say same-gender couples should be able to legally wed. Only 30 percent remain opposed.

Majority support for marriage equality plays out across all states, with only six where a majority has not yet coalesced around marriage rights.

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In North Carolina, only 49 percent support marriage equality.

The other five states are Alabama (41%), Mississippi (42%), Tennessee (46%), West Virginia (48%) and Louisiana (48%).

North Carolina was the last U.S. state to adopt an anti-marriage amendment to its state constitution. That passed with support from a majority of voters in 2012. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled same-gender couples could access legal marriage rights in 2015.

Broadly, though, support for marriage equality has grown across the board, with a majority of white, black and Hispanic Americans favoring the legal right. In faith communities, too, majority support can be found across large swaths of belief. A slim majority of Muslims (51%) say they support marriage equality. And though religious opposition is declining, notable standouts include largely white, evangelical Protestants, where only 34 percent support marriage equality.

PRRI also says a growing generation gap will soon fully tip the balance toward a near consensus on the issue, where even a majority young white evangelicals (53%) and Mormons (52%) support gay marriage rights. Their older cohorts, aged 65 and above, support the right at much lower levels, 25 percent and 32 percent, respectively.

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Similar results were found for support or opposition to religion-based refusals of service. Mormons and white evangelicals are the only faith group where a majority believes businesses should be allowed to refuse service to LGBTQ customers.

Though a majority of North Carolinians do not support marriage equality, PRRI found that 57 percent of the state’s residents were opposed to religion-based discrimination against customers.

It’s not all bad news for the more conservative faith communities, however. PRRI also found near consensus on majority support for LGBTQ-inclusive non-discrimination protections in areas like jobs and housing. Sixty-nine percent of Mormons favor such protections, with 54 percent of white evangelicals also supporting.

In North Carolina, 62 percent of residents support non-discrimination protections in housing, public accommodations and employment.

Read the full survey results from PRRI here…

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Posted by Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.