While Pope Francis has done nothing to change church doctrine on issues like marriage equality, his change in tone may simply be an acknowledgement that, at least in some places, church doctrine has little to no effect on what parishioners believe. A new Quinnipiac poll shows a large majority of Catholics supporting marriage equality, with some demographics’ support far outpacing the general public:
The survey found that 56% of Americans, 53% of Catholics who attend Mass weekly, and 65% of Catholics who attend Mass less frequently would support “a law in your state that would allow same-sex couples to get married.” Support was stronger among Catholics of ages 18-49 (64%) than ages 50-64 (62%) or 65+ (46%).
According to the survey, 72% of Catholic women back same-sex marriage, while 49% of Catholic men do.
Those are some large numbers. I find the difference between older Catholics and younger Catholics striking on this issue, as the poll essentially says that, from the Baby Boomer generation forward, this issue is completely won. Those older than the Boomers are showing significant progress, though! It wasn’t so long ago that we didn’t have 46% of the general public on our side, and now a full 46% of Catholic senior citizens are with us. Delving a bit deeper into the poll, we find that the opposition numbers among the age demographics don’t show such great variance [click to embiggen]:
Notice that among younger Catholics, you find strong support, weak opposition and just a few who don’t know. Same thing for the Boomers. But among older Catholics, while the “support” number is just below 50%, the “don’t know” number is much higher, suggesting that there is still great movement in our direction among that demographic. Once those numbers leave the middle and come to our side (because honestly, that’s what all poll numbers on our issues are doing), you end up in the same neighborhood of support as other demographics.