While many conservative traditions (e.g., many strains of evangelicalism) maintain their opposition to homosexuality, other religious communities have become more open in their support for gay and transgender equality. Since 2008 the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Presbyterian Church (USA) have both voted to allow the ordination of gay clergy, and earlier this year the Episcopal Church approved the creation of a rite that allows for the blessing of same-sex unions.
These institutional shifts aren’t flukes; rather, they reflect the beliefs many religious voters hold deeply. More Christians in the United States support marriage equality than oppose it, as do a majority of Catholic voters, despite the hardline opposition of their church hierarchy. A recent survey found 56 percent of Catholics believe sexual relations between two adults of the same gender is not a sin, and nearly three-quarters favor either allowing gay and lesbian people to marry (43 percent) or to form a civil union (31 percent). What’s more, nearly three-quarters of Catholics (73 percent) favor laws that protect gay and lesbian people against discrimination in the workplace, while 63 percent favor allowing them to serve openly in the military.
And faith groups aren’t just casually supporting the gay and transgender community. For many, fighting for gay and transgender equality is a matter of deep faith. Pro-marriage equality groups in Minnesota—which will vote on an anti-marriage equality amendment in November—are running ads that feature straight Catholic Republicans who support marriage equality. A group of Minnesota Catholics even assembled a chorus of more than 300 people to record aYouTube video in which they sing a pro-marriage equality song. In addition, a sweeping coalition of diverse faith leaders from across the state are working to support gay and transgender rights in passionate and often creative ways.So why are we letting the minority voice control the conversation?