LGBT Americans are less likely to be religious

August 13

Anti-gay religious protesters picket near a rainbow gay pride flag in Los Angeles in 2008. (David McNew/Getty Images)

Americans who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender are not quite feeling the whole religion thing as much as other Americans.

That’s according to a new Gallup poll, which found almost half of all LGBT adults are not religious compared with 30 percent of non-LGBT adults who say the same.

Only 24 percent of LGBT adults identify as “highly religious” — meaning they regularly attend religious services and say religion marks an important part of their day-to-day lives — while 41 percent of non-LGBT adults do.

To complete the study, Gallup interviewed more than 104,000 people, of which more than 3,200 adults identified as LGBT, between January and July.

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Gallup offered some explanations:

  1. LGBT people may not feel as welcome at church. For example, many religious denominations stand staunchly opposed to same-sex marriage, including the Roman Catholic Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Southern Baptist Convention.
  2. Those who identify as LGBT might live in communities where religion plays a smaller role.
  3. There are a lot of young LGBT people in the United States: Younger people tend to be the least religious nationwide.
Pope Francis at an in-flight news conference on July 29, 2013. (Luca Zennaro/AP/ Pool)
Pope Francis at an in-flight news conference on July 29, 2013. (Luca Zennaro/AP/ Pool)

While 83 percent of non-LGBT adults identify with a religion, just two-thirds of LGBT adults do.

However, there’s been a shift in the acceptance of LGBT people and same-sex marriage in the past few years. In May, a Gallup poll found support for same-sex marriage reached 55 percent, a record high. Just this summer, the Presbyterian Church (USA) allowed pastors to wed same-sex couples in the states where it’s legal.

Even Pope Francis hinted at change. In July 2013, he told reporters aboard a papal airplane: “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”

Target announced Tuesday that the company had signed on to a court case in favor of legalizing gay marriage. Here are four other companies that waded into the debate over whether same-sex couples should be allowed to marry. (Sarah Parnass and Natalie Jennings/The Washington Post)
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Ryan Weber · August 13