Clergy and national officers with the United Church of Christ join with other local clergy and their legal counsel at a press conference announcing a lawsuit challenging North Carolina's anti-LGBT amendment in April 2014.

A new survey from the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) shows increasing support for marriage equality across almost all states, faith communities, races and other social groups — with only few glaring exceptions, North Carolina among them.

The new data comes from PRRI’s 2017 American Values Atlas, showing that, overall, 61 percent of Americans say same-gender couples should be able to legally wed. Only 30 percent remain opposed.

Majority support for marriage equality plays out across all states, with only six where a majority has not yet coalesced around marriage rights.

In North Carolina, only 49 percent support marriage equality.

The other five states are Alabama (41%), Mississippi (42%), Tennessee (46%), West Virginia (48%) and Louisiana (48%).

North Carolina was the last U.S. state to adopt an anti-marriage amendment to its state constitution. That passed with support from a majority of voters in 2012. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled same-gender couples could access legal marriage rights in 2015.

Broadly, though, support for marriage equality has grown across the board, with a majority of white, black and Hispanic Americans favoring the legal right. In faith communities, too, majority support can be found across large swaths of belief. A slim majority of Muslims (51%) say they support marriage equality. And though religious opposition is declining, notable standouts include largely white, evangelical Protestants, where only 34 percent support marriage equality.

PRRI also says a growing generation gap will soon fully tip the balance toward a near consensus on the issue, where even a majority young white evangelicals (53%) and Mormons (52%) support gay marriage rights. Their older cohorts, aged 65 and above, support the right at much lower levels, 25 percent and 32 percent, respectively.

Similar results were found for support or opposition to religion-based refusals of service. Mormons and white evangelicals are the only faith group where a majority believes businesses should be allowed to refuse service to LGBTQ customers.

Though a majority of North Carolinians do not support marriage equality, PRRI found that 57 percent of the state’s residents were opposed to religion-based discrimination against customers.

It’s not all bad news for the more conservative faith communities, however. PRRI also found near consensus on majority support for LGBTQ-inclusive non-discrimination protections in areas like jobs and housing. Sixty-nine percent of Mormons favor such protections, with 54 percent of white evangelicals also supporting.

In North Carolina, 62 percent of residents support non-discrimination protections in housing, public accommodations and employment.

Read the full survey results from PRRI here…

Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.