The right-leaning media watchdog group
PolitiFact says it's mostly true that a majority of Catholics support
Garden State Equality Chairman Steve
Goldstein recently responded to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's
claim that his Catholic faith was behind his opposition to gay
marriage by saying a majority of Catholics support the institution.
PolitiFact investigated, and after
analyzing the results of three nationwide surveys, concluded
Goldstein's assertion to be “mostly true.”
A March ABC News/Washington Post
poll with a 7.5 percent margin of error found 60% of Catholics
support marriage equality, while 38 percent oppose it.
A Public Religion Research Institute
poll released in May found 56 percent of respondents either strongly
favored or favored allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry, and 36
percent said they either strongly opposed or opposed such marriages.
But the poll's 7 percent margin of error could drop support below 50
And a Quinnipiac University poll
released this month also found a majority (53%) of Catholics in
support of marriage equality, and 41 percent opposed. But again the
survey's 4.9 percent margin is too high to definitely conclude a
majority of Catholics support the institution.
All three polls, however, show that
more Catholics support rather than oppose gay marriage.
“Right now at this point you can't
really say it's a majority, you can't really say it's not a majority,
given the margin of error,” Mark Gray, a research associate with
the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, told
PolitiFact New Jersey.
Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic
League, conceded that “there's no question there's been a movement”
in favor of gay marriage, but warned that people tend to vote more
conservatively than they answer surveys.