Listening to the Senate committee hearing the other night, it was interesting how many of the opponents to the gay marriage bill focused on religious beliefs and a traditional definition of marriage as between a man and a woman. Even more interesting to me was this quote in Politickernj.com from Democratic State Sen. Paul Sarlo, who chaired the hearing and voted against the bill. He said he is opposed to the bill "personally because of my religious beliefs as a Roman Catholic, and as senator of the 36th District, which is mostly made up of Irish and Italian Catholics, and Orthodox Jews."
This got me thinking that we had never released our polling results on gay marriage by religious preference and frequency of attendance at religious services. But we do have that data.
The results are pretty interesting. Catholics, the single largest religious group in New Jersey actually SUPPORT gay marriage, 48% - 40%. It is Protestants who oppose - 55% are against gay marriage compared to 34% who support it. This Protestant opposition is driven by Evangelicals who are 67% - 24% opposed. Non-Evangelical Protestants actually support gay marriage, 47% - 37%.
Regardless of religious preference, the issue remains "unimportant" - even Evangelicals mostly say it is "not at all important" as issues go in New Jersey.
See http://eagletonpoll.rutgers.edu/polls/release_12-09-09.pdf for the full release on religion and gay marriage in New Jersey.