Survey: Jews, Buddhists are biggest U.S. supporters of gay marriage
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Survey: Jews, Buddhists are biggest U.S. supporters of gay marriage

NEW YORK (JTA) – Jews are overwhelmingly supportive of same-sex marriage, according to a new survey by the Public Religion Research Institute.

Of the 724 Jews surveyed, 47 percent said they strongly favor allowing same-sex couples to marry legally and 30 percent said they favor it. Nine percent of respondents said they oppose gay marriage, and the same percentage said they strongly oppose it.

The survey, which had its results released on Wednesday, drew on 40,000 interviews among a random sample of Americans from April 2014 to early January 2015.

After Buddhists, Jews were more likely than any other religious group to support gay marriage. Among the survey respondents, 84 percent of Buddhists favored gay marriage, followed by Jews and the religiously unaffiliated, 77 percent; mainline Protestants (Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Unitarians), 62 percent; and Catholics, 61 percent.

Those opposed to gay marriage outnumbered supporters among Jehovah’s Witnesses, with 75 percent opposed; Mormons, 68 percent; and white evangelicals, 66 percent.

Overall, support for same-sex marriage rose sharply from 2003, when Massachusetts became the first U.S. state to legalize gay marriage. Then, less than one-third of Americans supported gay marriage and 59 percent opposed. By early 2014, 53 percent supported gay marriage and 41 percent were opposed.

Early 2014 survey data showed support for gay marriage highest in the Northeast, at 60 percent, and lowest in the South, 48 percent. Politically, gay marriage had support levels in 2014 of 64 percent among Democrats, 57 percent among independents and 34 percent among Republicans. The 2014 survey also showed a significant age gap, with 69 percent of millennials supporting gay marriage compared to 37 percent of those age 68 and older.