Most Church of England members back same-sex marriage

A new poll show that more members of the Church of England are in favor of marriage equality than are against it. Among Anglicans overall, more women and adults under 55 years of age support same-sex marriage, while the demographic from which most of the church’s leadership is drawn, males 55 years old or older, is most opposed.

Harriet Sherwood of the Guardian reports:

A poll conducted in the aftermath of the Canterbury meeting found 45% of people who define themselves as Church of England approve of same-sex marriage, compared with 37% who believe it is wrong. A similar survey three years ago found almost the reverse: 38% of Anglicans in favour and 47% opposed.

The lowest levels of support for same-sex marriage – 24% – were found among Anglican men over the age of 55, a group that dominates the church leadership. Jayne Ozanne, a leading gay activist within the C of E, who commissioned the poll from YouGov, said this finding was “deeply worrying”. “Unfortunately, this is exactly the profile of those in the senior positions of power and influence within the church,” she said….

…The survey found a clear generational difference among Church of England members, with almost three-quarters (72%) of under-35s in favour. There was a majority supporting same-sex marriage in all age groups under 55, but the figure dropped to fewer than one in three older Anglicans. More women than men believe same-sex marriage is right.

According to the report, Jayne Ozanne, of Accepting Evangelicals, commissioned the poll from YouGov. She told the Guardian:

“The church now faces a major challenge to explain clearly to the nation just why it discriminates against people like me and others in the way that it does. With such a large proportion of society now in favour, the church has some serious explaining to do – especially to the younger generation who find themselves repelled by a church which does not share their views.”

The complete news release of the survey and its results may be found here.

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