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Latino Catholics Support Gay Rights

March 29, 2011, 11:49 am | Posted by ggraves-fitzsimmons

The US Census Bureau reports the Hispanic population is rapidly growing. It accounted for more than half of population growth in the United States in the last decade. 1 in 6 Americans now identifies as Hispanic, as do 1 in 4 American children. And since the vast majority of Hispanics are Catholic (with a growing segment identifying as evangelical or Pentecostal), it’s also important to note that Public Religion Research Institute recently found that Catholic support for gay marriage and civil unions is on the rise.

Conventional wisdom says that while the Hispanic population leans progressive because of immigration, their Catholicism makes them, as a whole, more conservative on social issues. The census report finds otherwise. Latino Catholics support marriage equality more than their white counterparts and far out pace white mainline Protestants, black Protestants, and white evangelical Protestants.

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The one caveat is that support for civil unions among Latino Catholics is relatively low, demonstrating a divide between those who support full marriage rights for LGBT couples and those who prefer no legal recognition of same-sex relationships. But on the whole, Latino Catholics are more supportive of marriage rights for LGBT couples than any other religious-ethnic group. Going forward, their opinions will be increasingly more important in determining national policy on this issue.

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