Despite the ongoing efforts of the Catholic Church's leadership in New Jersey, a new poll released today finds that a majority of the Garden State's Catholics support marriage equality. 48% support, while 40% oppose and 12% are undecided. This is big news given that 37% of New Jersey is Catholic.
The breakdown of the poll is rather interesting but not surprising. Those who indicated they were Catholic and attended mass at least once a week, 54% opposed while 37% favored; if they attended once a month, 35% opposed while 46% favored.
"As with several social issues, many Catholics support a more liberal public policy than does the Church itself," said David Redlawsk, director of the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll and professor of political science at Rutgers University. "Given that Catholics comprise the largest religious group in the state, this makes a difference in overall support for gay marriage in New Jersey, especially since a majority of Protestants — many of whom are Evangelicals — oppose the bill."
Evangelical or "born-again" Protestants opposed marriage equality by a margin of 55% to 35%, with 11% undecided.
Another religious group with an encouraging majority. Jewish respondents supported 56% to 40% with 4% undecided.
Least shocking, those not affiliated with any religion support marriage equality 85% to 10% with 5% undecided.
The poll of 903 New Jersey adults was fielded November 6-10 and has a margin of error of 3.3 percent.
Recently, the sponsors of the state's marriage equality bill requested that the Senate delay its vote so that the Assembly could hold its own public hearing and vote in its Judiciary Committee.
I would like to bet that this poll will grab the legislature's attention. Despite what the bill's sponsors may say, it's rather obvious the votes are not solidified in either chamber of the state's legislature. Now with the vote delayed, hopefully they'll have time to review the poll that indicates that some of the bill's biggest objectors, who belong to people of faith groups and in particular the influential Catholics, are a minority within their own demographic.
ACTION: Go to Garden State Equality to find out how you can get involved!