Information for us to mull over: for Washington Post, Greg Sargent writes in his Plum Line column today,
A Washington Post poll last spring found that Republicans are all alone in opposing legal gay marriage, by 54-40. And they also don’t believe the "equal protection" clause guarantees the legal right to marry by 54-38. Majorities of independents and moderates are in the Yes camp on both.
The religious breakdown is key. White evangelical Protestants overwhelmingly oppose gay marriage, by 66-28. By contrast, white non-evangelical Protestants support it by 62-27, and white Catholics support it by 70-26. Evangelicals, of course, are important in GOP primaries; indeed, Huckabee has explicitly warned that if the GOP embraces gay marriage, "they’re going to lose a large part of their base because evangelicals will take a walk."
A number of points could be made here. One is that the U.S. Catholic bishops have driven quite a wedge between themselves as pastoral leaders and the flock they claim to lead, by making an alliance with conservative white evangelicals that sets the bishops at such extreme odds with their flock vis-a-vis the issue of marriage equality.
Another is that the logic of the papal teaching against contraception in Humanae Vitae continues to play out in this fall-on-the-sword attitude of the bishops about same-sex marriage. In both cases, they've committed themselves to positions about sexual morality that a large majority of their fellow Catholics who happen to be lay Catholics reject, because lay Catholics deem those positions to be, quite simply, wrong.
You can't defend Humanae Vitae without also defending the indefensible position on marriage equality. Not credibly so, that is to say . . . .
A third and obvious point is that the commitment to oppose marriage equality is also, for American religious leaders and religious groups making that commitment, a political commitment. It's a partisan commitment that places these leaders and groups in an idolatrous position vis-a-vis a particular political party.
That's not a position in which wise religious leaders would ever place their flocks, or in which wise groups of believers would ever place their religious bodies.
The photo of Greg Sargent is from his Washington Post byline page.