Many proponents of same-sex marriage assume that opposition to same-sex marriage comes almost exclusively from religious citizens.  A simple math calculation exposes the error of this assumption: religious believers account for approximately 95% of the population, and yet only 48% oppose same-sex marriage (41% favor).  Clearly not all opposition to same-sex marriage is coming from religious believers.  Who, then, is it coming from?

In August 2010 The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life conducted their annual “Religion and the Issues: Results from the 2010 Annual Religion and Public Life Survey.”  The survey revealed that only 35% of the population considers religion the main influence on their opinion about same-sex marriage.  Of this number, 60% are opposed to same-sex marriage.  That means only 21% of the population is opposed to same-sex marriage primarily on religious grounds.  The other 27% of the population that is opposed to same-sex marriage is opposed to same-sex marriage primarily on other grounds such as education, personal experience, and the views of family and friends.  Put another way, the majority of those who are opposed to same-sex marriage are motivated primarily by reasons other than religion.

While I find it appalling, same-sex marriage proponents should take note of the fact that 49% of white Catholics (49%), 48% of mainline Protestants (48%), 26% of black Protestants, and 22% of white evangelical Protestants favor same-sex marriage!

What I found truly interesting is the finding that only 78% of atheists and agnostics favor same-sex marriage.  That means close to 1 in 4 atheists/agnostics are either opposed to same-sex marriage, or have no opinion!  While there is no question that conservative religious believers are more likely to be opposed to same-sex marriage than the non-religious, the fact of the matter is that there is a lot of support for same-sex marriage among the religious and a lot of opposition to same-sex marriage among the non-religious.  The notion that religion is responsible for the opposition to same-sex marriage is false.  Significant opposition comes from all quarters of the American populace.