NEW YORK – American Jews show among the highest levels of support for gay marriage, from all American subgroups measured in recent polls, according to figures published this week by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.
According to five polls of Americans in 2012 and 2013, with the most recent conducted in March 2013, 76 percent of US Jews support legalizing same-sex marriage, while 18% oppose and 8% did not express an opinion.
The figure is remarkably high, particularly when compared to the number of Protestants (34%) and Catholics (53%) who support same-sex marriage.
Jewish support is higher than the support among Democrats (61%), self-described “liberals” (72%), and even among Americans without religious affiliation (75%).
The sample size of Jews — just 210 out of over 9,900 respondents — made a breakdown into age, attendance of religious service, or political views impossible. But for larger segments of the study, those factors had a dramatic effect on views on gay marriage.
The youngest adult Americans are twice as likely to support gay marriage as the oldest. Some 66% of Americans aged 18-29 support it, while just 33% of those over 65 expressed support.
All religious groups and political subdivisions saw much higher support for gay marriage among the young. For example, 39% of Republicans aged 29 or younger support legalizing gay marriage, compared to just 16% of Republicans over 65. Among Catholics, support is twice as high (72%) among those aged 18 to 34 as it is among those over 65 (36%).
Women were also more likely to support gay marriage (52%) than men (44%).
The rate of attendance of religious services also has an effect on views on gay marriage. Some 60% of respondents attend religious services less than once a week, while 40% attend once a week or more. Those with lower attendance were twice as likely, at 60%, to support legalizing gay marriage, compared to the lowers levels of support, 28%, from those with higher attendance.