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Gay marriage: church leaders at odds with opinion in the pews, study suggests

by John Bingham, Telegraph

CHURCHES are facing a rebellion in the pews over gay marriage, a wide-ranging study of religious attitudes on the issue suggests.

Despite vocal opposition to David Cameron’s plan to allow same-sex couples to marry from the leaders of almost all the major faith groups, the faithful are just as likely to support it quietly as oppose it, the survey found.

And when those who actively describe themselves as religious but do not attend services regularly are included, more Roman Catholics and Anglicans back the redefinition of marriage than oppose it, it suggests.

Notably, the polling found that within most religious groups there are also minorities who believe that same-sex marriage is wrong but still think that it should be allowed.

The findings emerge from a survey of more than 4,000 people, commissioned by the organisers of the regular Westminster Faith Debates.

People were asked not only whether they identified with a religion or denomination but whether they looked to their faith or its leaders for guidance rather than their own instincts.

The polling, carried out by YouGov, found that opposition to gay marriage was strongest among those with the strongest religious convictions.

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