Thinking Anglicans

Same Sex Marriage Research 2022

Press Release from the Ozanne Fondation

It starts with

Same Sex Marriage Research 2022

Same sex marriage – a clear majority of Anglicans believe same-sex marriage is right despite the church’s refusal to permit same sex marriage.

Fast changing attitudes within society and the Church of England have led to a broad acceptance of same sex marriage, with well over half (55%) of those identifying as Anglican and living in England believing same sex marriage is ‘right’. What is more, nearly three quarters (72%) of those under 50 believe that it is ‘right’, despite the Church of England’s official stance against same-sex relationships.

The Poll, commissioned by the Ozanne Foundation and conducted over by YouGov, repeated a question asked about people’s attitudes to same-sex marriage in 2013, 2016 and 2020. It shows a constant increase over time in the number of people who self-identify as Anglican believing same-sex marriage is ‘right’ (from 38% in 2013 to 48% in 2020 to 55% in 2022) and a marked decrease in numbers believing it is ‘wrong’ (from 47% in 2013 to just 29% in 2022).

An overwhelming majority of the British public now clearly support same sex marriage, with just a fifth opposed to it. This is a significant change in just 9 years.

and continues with details of the poll results and links to the full results.

The Church Times has this report: YouGov poll: more than half of Anglicans believe same-sex marriage to be ‘right’.

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Susannah Clark
2 months ago

I suspect that some conservative evangelical anglicans may argue that most of those who identify as anglicans “aren’t even Christians” but simply people who attend church for weddings and funerals.

However, at the very least, people should face the reality that many regular Anglicans do fully endorse gay and lesbian marriage, in sincere good conscience.

Therefore, as we know all too well, the Church is divided on this issue. Why should one side dominate the consciences of the other? Let people decide for themselves.

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Susannah Clark
2 months ago

The argument you attribute to conservative evangelicals might have more weight were it not for the age skew in the figures. “Cultural” Anglicanism is really the preserve of the elderly – non-churchgoing members of Gen X and younger aren’t in the habit of ticking CofE. It’s likely that the proportions among younger folk defining as Anglican more closely mirror those of churchgoers than among older adults.

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Jo B
2 months ago

Did the poll actually pin down what % of respondents attended church once a week, once a month, twice a year, hardly at all? It would have been logical and informative if that had formed part of the results. Local churches largely develop their positions through the smaller number of ‘anglicans’ who actually attend regularly. As the big majority of attendees remain elderly, it seems unlikely at local level that the definite shift of views among the young will counterbalance less enthusiasm for gay sex among the older members. Obviously, as a lesbian woman who had a priest brave enough… Read more »

Nic Tall
Nic Tall
Reply to  Susannah Clark
2 months ago

You could argue that many in the older age groups counted as “cultural” Anglicans, having some sort of affiliation but not attending. But that argument is harder to stand up in the younger age groups. And yet it is in the younger age groups, where self identifying as Anglican probably means an attending, engaged member, that the support for same sex marriage becomes more pronounced. The “no true Anglican” argument makes it more rather than less likely that regular churchgoing C of E members are supportive of same sex marriage. I completely agree that the one-sided domination over the policy… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Nic Tall
2 months ago

Thanks Nic. As is always the case, opinion polls need unwrapping. I do agree that there has been a huge shift among younger people who go to church, reflecting the secular cultural shift. That said, we still face a situation where the recent General Synod elections resulted in much more of a stand off than the poll would seem to suggest. Indeed, I am unsure the present status quo – the position that gay sexuality is a sin, and gay Christians should be celibate – will be changed over the duration of the Synod. We still face a reality that… Read more »

Nic Tall
Nic Tall
Reply to  Susannah Clark
2 months ago

Thank you Susannah. As a member of General Synod I agree that there needs to be a compromise solution found, and that the present situation is untenable. I do not want to swap the hegemony of one point of view for a hegemony by another. Such a compromise would lead to a way forward which is messy and paradoxical, but the life of the Church has never been simple or tidy. However, the mathematics of Synod will make significant change to allow those who wish to move forward quite difficult. As you probably know, any change to law or approved… Read more »

Simon Kershaw
Reply to  Nic Tall
2 months ago

Nic writes “any change to law or approved liturgy needs a 2/3rds majority in each house”. Legislative proposals do not generally require a 2/3 majority. It is only the “final approval” of liturgical material alternative to that in the 1662 BCP which requires a 2/3 majority, together with changes to the Church Representation Rules, and some other doctrinal matters. Other legislation requires only a simple majority in each house. And I think I am right in saying that majorities in each house are usually assumed from a vote of the whole synod, unless there is a call for a vote… Read more »

Nic Tall
Nic Tall
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
2 months ago

There’s a lot of detail on this in the Standing Orders of Synod, and as a new member I am not (yet!) up to speed on all of it.

You are right that majorities in each house are only required if called for, if not it’s assumed across the whole Synod. But on anything contested there will nearly always be a call for a vote by Houses because it raises the bar higher.

Jim Pratt
Jim Pratt
Reply to  Nic Tall
2 months ago

My sense (and this is a Canadian perspective) is that older generations are likely to claim a denominational identity, even if they have not attended church in 25 years or more. Younger people, if not churchgoers, see denominational identity as meaningless, but may answer “Christian” or “Protestant”. In Canada, religious identity is asked on every other census (every 10 years rather than every 5). The last time, when the area around my church had a much higher percentage of seniors than our region as a whole, the number of “census Anglicans” was 20 times the number of people on the… Read more »

Bernard Silverman
Reply to  Susannah Clark
2 months ago

According to the results of the survey, the attitudes of “Anglicans” to same-sex marriage are almost entirely explained by their age. So if you took a random cross-section of the population with the same age structure as Anglicans in Jayne Ozanne’s sample, they would say Right: 57%, Wrong 27%—-while the figures for Anglicans are Right: 55%, Wrong 29%. The difference of 2% is probably within the statistical noise level. The other question is to what extent the change since 2015 is simply explained by the fact that everyone is now 7 years older. The graphs in section 4 suggest that being 7 years… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Bernard Silverman
2 months ago

Thank you, and I defer to you as an expert in this field. Very interesting. The Anglican churches I have attended over the years seem to attract people with a range of views, but in the here and now of today I would say overall there is now a majority in favour of gay sexuality (though actual marriage may be less affirmed) – but churches in particular traditions may draw to themselves (or persuade) more liberal or more conservative congregations. The conservative evangelical group of churches in the Church of England is not insubstantial. With social change I suspect that… Read more »

Bernard Silverman
Reply to  Susannah Clark
2 months ago

Susannah…thanks. Your grasp of the stats seems pretty good to me! Your perception is of a divide within the Church. That isn’t at all contradicted within the survey because it averages out any internal variations. Your analysis of individual churches drawing like minded people together makes sense, doesn’t it.

I suspect that among the general secular public this has now become something of a non-issue. People mostly probably only think about it when asked their view in an opinion poll, so it’s not a cause of division. In the Church, however,….

David Keen
David Keen
2 months ago

Here’s some analysis of the Yougov poll https://www.premierchristianity.com/opinion/a-new-survey-claims-most-anglicans-back-gay-marriage-but-the-truth-is-very-different/6183.article.

As the author points out, if the 20%+ of the survey who identify as Anglican was reflected in church attendance, we would have millions in our churches every week, not thousands. Without meaningful questions in the survey about observance, it mostly tells us what ‘cultural Anglicans’ think rather than people who practice their faith. The views of people who think that Jesus was probably a good chap, and occasionally go to church at Christmas, don’t really have much bearing on what we believe and do.

Bob
Bob
Reply to  David Keen
2 months ago

Thank you David for the link. I find it always pays to look behind the headline statement. After all “there are lies, dammed lies and statistics”.

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  David Keen
2 months ago

Of course the headline of that article is itself misleading – we don’t actually know what “the truth” is regarding the views of regular worshippers. The author is also engaged in a great deal of “no true Scotsman”-type reasoning: if you exclude those who call themselves Anglican but don’t conform to your own views then it’s pretty easy to reach any conclusion you like. I reckon if we excluded those who don’t accept a threefold order of bishops, priests and deacons from being counted as Anglicans we might skew the figures differently too.

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  David Keen
2 months ago

“The views of people … don’t really have much bearing on what we believe and do.” Apologies for over-simplifying, and perhaps misrepresenting what you said, but I think this typifies much thought in the church. Susannah would like the results broken down by frequency of attendance. As she says, local churches largely develop their positions based on those who attend the most. Or, to turn it around, we could say those who attend the most are the ones who largely develop the positions of local churches. In advocating giving local churches the right to ban their parishioners from same-sex marriage,… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  T Pott
2 months ago

“As she says, local churches largely develop their positions based on those who attend the most. Or, to turn it around, we could say those who attend the most are the ones who largely develop the positions of local churches.”
 
I think most Anglicans no longer go to church which suggests that basing policy on the views of the apparently unrepresentative minority who do is a one way ticket to decline.

Nic Tall
Nic Tall
Reply to  David Keen
2 months ago

David wrote: “it mostly tells us what ‘cultural Anglicans’ think rather than people who practice their faith.” The problem with this is that cultural Anglicanism is more prevalent in the older generations, which this study finds are split on same sex marriage, but in younger generations hardly anyone says they are “C of E” out of cultural affiliation. Yet the study shows that self identifying Anglicans under 50 (who probably have church involvement) are strongly in favour of equal marriage. The other point is that there are many faithful Christians who do not attend church, sometimes because of negative or… Read more »

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