Study Says Religions' Acceptance of Gays and Lesbians Growing

More American churches are becoming accepting of gays and lesbians, according to a new study by Duke University. According to The Advocate, The data from the university's ongoing study showed a notable increase in acceptance of gays and lesbians from 2006 to 2012.

"In 2012, 48 percent of the congregational leaders surveyed said a gay or lesbian couple in a committed relationship would be welcomed as full-fledged members, up from 37.4 percent in 2006. The proportion of congregations that open all volunteer positions to out gays and lesbians increased from 17.7 percent to 26.4 percent.

“The increasing acceptance of gays and lesbians is a well-known trend in America,” said study director Mark Chaves, a professor of sociology at Duke, in a press release. “Churches are no exception.”

The greatest increase in acceptance came from black Protestant churches, white liberal churches and non-Christian congregations, while Catholic congregations saw a decrease (ironic when you think about Pope Francis' public statements about gays). Meanwhile conservative white Protestant congregations saw a mixed response, embracing gays and lesbians as members but not volunteer leaders.