68 percent of Catholics back legal recognition for gay unions

A Knights of Columbus survey, reports Catholic News Service, finds:

A plurality of registered Catholic voters, 36 percent, said homosexual couples should be able to form civil unions. The remaining 64 percent were split evenly — 32 percent to 32 percent — on gay couples being able to legally marry or such couples getting no legal recognition.

What’s that you say?

In other words:

Although the poll results indicated that 68 percent of Catholics would favor some kind of legal recognition for gay couples in terms of either same-sex unions or legal marriage, “I would not read it that way,” [Supreme Knight Carl] Anderson said.

Anderson was probably surprised by the result since it cannot be explained by the inclusion of nonpracticing Catholics: amongst practicing Catholics 63% back legal recognition of gay unions.

When results on the question of same-sex unions are presented (see link below) they are “read” this way: “70% of Americans do not support same-sex marriage including 38% who advocate no legal recognition and 32% who favor civil unions. 68% of Catholics and 75% of practicing Catholics share this view. Even though a majority of non-practicing Catholics oppose same sex marriage, 46% believe same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.”

The question on same-sex unions asked was: Which comes closest to your view: (A) Gay and lesbian couples should be allowed to legally marry, (B) gay and lesbian couples should be allowed to legally form civil unions, but not marry, or (C) there should be no legal recognition of the relationship between gay and lesbian couples?

Given that C < 50% Anderson instead frames the finding as B + C > 50%. Yet it is also true that A + C > 50%. In other words, a majority of Catholics back legal recognition of gay unions. That’s a far cry from what many would predict.

You can listen to the news conference webcast here.

The poll, Moral Issues and Catholic Values, is summarized here.

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