A new Associated Press-GFK poll shows that more Americans favor legalizing same-sex marriage, but a majority believe businesses that provide wedding services shouldn’t have to participate in a same-sex marriage if they have a religious objection.
According to the poll, 44 percent of Americans favor legalizing same-sex marriage, 39 percent oppose it, and 15 percent neither favor nor oppose same-sex marriage.
But 57 percent of Americans believe that in states where same-sex marriage is legal, business owners—such as florists and bakers—who believe providing wedding services to such a union violates their conscience, should be allowed to refuse service. Some 39 percent say they shouldn’t be allowed to refuse service, and 4 percent refused to answer.
David Kenney of Michigan told the AP he has no objections to the legalization of same-sex marriage, but those with religious objections shouldn’t be forced to violate their conscience.
“Why make an issue out of one florist when there are probably thousands of florists?” asked Kenney. “The gay community wants people to understand their position, but at the same time, they don’t want to understand other peoples’ religious convictions. It’s a two-way street.”
Ryan Anderson, the William E. Simon fellow in religion and a free society at The Heritage Foundation, said Americans believe sexual liberty and religious liberty should coexist.
“This poll confirms that ordinary Americans—both those in favor of gay marriage and those who oppose gay marriage—agree the government should not penalize those who hold the historic view of marriage,” said Anderson.