Biola poll shows stance on same-sex marriage differs from majority of Americans

Of 210 Biola students polled, a majority do not support same-sex marriage, which does not conform to the overall trend of increasing support in the United States.

Melissa Hedrick, Writer

The Supreme Court began hearing arguments in the case questioning the constitutional right of states to ban same-sex marriage on Tuesday, April 28. Although same-sex marriage has been widely supported across the United States in recent years, poll conducted by the Chimes in mid-April indicated that a majority of Biola students do not support same-sex marriage.

Pew Research published a study showing that same-sex marriage was supported by 52 percent of Americans and opposed by 40 percent in 2014, a large shift from 10 years ago when 31 percent were in support and 60 percent were in opposition. The Chimes’ poll of 210 Biola students revealed that 67.6 percent were against same-sex marriage and 14.8 percent were for it.

Though Pew Research shows an increase in the support of gay marriage from different denominations, only four students who were polled said their churches allow or are considering allowing same-sex marriage. Of this, two were Presbyterian churches. In March 2015, the Presbyterian Church passed an amendment to their constitutions allowing pastors to use their discretion in marrying same-sex couples in states where it is legal.

A local, non-denominational church commented on the issue but asked to remain anonymous because they are in the process of editing their position paper on the topic.

“We are maintaining the position that we already have but we have been realizing that it lacks some depth and some nuance in some areas and I don’t think that we as a church have done a good job at plumbing the depths of human sexuality in general,” explained the church’s spokesperson.

The Chimes’ poll also indicates that 17.6 percent of students do not know their church’s stance on same-sex marriage. While some students explained this is because they are new to their church, it could also be attributed to a lack of discussion about same-sex marriage within many churches.

“It does tell me that churches are a bit afraid to address the issue,” said political science professor Darren Guerra. “I think if there is 17 percent who aren’t sure where their church stands that means that from the pulpit or in their doctrine that church hasn’t taken a stand.”  

The Supreme Court will decide in June whether same-sex marriage is protected under the 14th amendment of the federal constitution, or if it will be left up to individual states to define marriage as they choose.

“Churches for the most part will be free to hire who they will, marry who they will, etcetera,” said Guerra.

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