Daily Israel Report

83% of American Jews Support 'Gay Marriage'

New poll reveals majority of Americans support 'gay marriage.' Surprisingly, highest support comes from practicing Jewish Americans.
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 2/26/2014, 10:24 AM

Gay Pride Flag
Gay Pride Flag
Reuters

A new poll released Wednesday shows that a majority of Americans support 'gay marriage.' The group with the largest percentage expressing support was practicing Jewish Americans, 83% of whom came out in favor, despite homosexuality being expressly forbidden by Judaism.

The survey, which polled 4,500 Americans, was conducted by the non-partisan Public Religion Research Institute. It found that 53% of Americans support gay marriage, reports AFPThat figure indicates a significant rise from ten years prior; in 2003, American public support for same-sex marriage was at 32%.

A somewhat surprising trend exposed in the research was the widespread support among Americans who attend churches and synagogues.

As noted above, 83% of practicing Jewish Americans came out in favor, 62% of "white mainline Protestants" similarly expressed support, along with 58% of white Catholics and 56% of Hispanic Catholics. 

The religious groups with the least support were the black Protestants, at 35%, and white evangelical Protestants, at 27%.

Another trend that became clear was the rising support for 'gay marriage' among young Americans, as 69% of Americans in their 20s and early 30s expressed support.

Robert Jones, CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute, said nearly a third of those in this younger age group "who left their childhood religion say unfavorable church teachings about or treatment of gay and lesbian people played a significant role in their decision to head for the exit."

Legal changes promoting gay marriage in the US

The discussion of 'gay marriage' is particularly timely in the US. Just this Tuesday, Attorney General Eric Holder addressed state attorneys general, and in essence told them they do not have to defend state laws banning gay marriage, reports Fox News.

"In general, I believe that we must be suspicious of legal classifications based solely on sexual orientation," Holder said.

After the Defense of Marriage Act was struck down by the Supreme Court last year, a half-dozen Democratic state attorneys general have stopped defending their states' laws banning gay marriage, 

In Israel, the issue of gay marriage has been foisted on the Knesset by MK Adi Kol (Yesh Atid), who has also been trying to legislate civil marriage in Israel.

Kol also initiated a bill to give same-sex couples equal tax breaks, a bill which Jewish Home initially opposed but eventually compromised on by not having the bill give same-sex couples official recognition, thereby sparing Jewish Home from being perceived as officially supporting gay marriage.

Jewish Home, as well as Likud Beytenu, drew criticism for failing to vote against the bill, which passed; Bennett voted for the bill while the rest of Jewish Home abstained.

MK Moshe Feiglin (Likud-Beytenu) decried what he said was a wave of anti-family legislation spearheaded by Yesh Atid. It used to be clear what a family was, he told a Bar Association conference, and people were either married, single, divorced or widowed. “Nowadays there is a family, and a single-parent family, and a same-sex family. There are all kinds of families and all of them are legitimate. This hides behind a fake liberalism that pretends to hug everyone. How nice!... But by calling everything a family – in effect, nothing is a family.”