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Is the LGBTQ Position of Pastors and the American Population in General Changing?

The changing views of same-sex marriages in America.

New surveys by Lifeway and PRRI suggest changing trends among pastors and the general public on the subjects of LGBTQ discrimination laws and a willingness to accept same-sex marriage. 

Lifeway Research 

Lifeway has recently published the results of a poll of over 1,004 Protestant pastors conducted in August/September of 2023 (details here and here). Having a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2% the following is a brief summary of surprising results from pastors. 

  • 21% saw “nothing wrong” with same-sex marriage, DOWN from 24% in 2019.

Contained within the larger group above, 

  • 46% of self-identified progressive mainline pastors continue to support same-sex marriage, remaining virtually the same as 47% in 2019. 
  • Only 7% of evangelical pastors supported gay marriage.

These trends were not limited to the Lifeway pastoral survey. 

2023 American Values Atlas from PRRI

The 2023 ‘American Values Atlas’ also showed a decrease in acceptance of same-sex marriage among the general population, from 69% in 2022 to 67% in 2023 (details here). Further, the PRRI study offered the following insights into the views of the American population. Their annual survey was based on interviews with 22,000 adults from all 50 states.  

  • 76% of those surveyed (down from 80% in 2022) supported “policies that protect LGBTQ Americans from discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodation”.
  • The drop was most dramatic among Republicans (from 66% of support in 2022 to 59% in 2023).
  • Stratified by age, the most dramatic drop occurred with 18-29-year-olds, showing a decrease in support for the LGBTQ population from a high of 83% in 2020 to 75% in 2023.
  • 59% of Independents, 82% of Democrats, and only 34% of Republicans opposed small business owners being allowed to discriminate against the LGBTQ community based on religious convictions. 
  • Christian nationalism rejectors “were nearly unanimous” (93%) in support of laws protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination. 
  • Finally, 22% of Christian pro-nationalism responders while 93% of Christian nationalism rejectors support same-sex marriage.


Put succinctly, we are a divided nation on the subject of gay rights. And, it would appear that the divergence between progressives and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, and Pastors (even progressive pastors) and their congregations is growing. 

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AuthorJeff Hilles | BCWorldview.org 


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