NASHVILLE, Tenn. (LifeWay) – More than 100,000 same-sex couples have tied the knot since the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriages nationwide last year.
But for preachers, being asked to do a same-sex wedding remains rare.
A new survey by Nashville-based LifeWay Research found 11 percent of Protestant senior pastors have been asked to perform a same-sex wedding.
Overall, pastors who identify as mainline were three times as likely to have been asked than evangelical pastors (18 percent vs. 6 percent). Pastors 55 and older (14 percent) are twice as likely to have been asked than those 54 and younger (7 percent).
LGBT serve churchThe survey of 1,000 Protestant senior pastors also asked about the role of LGBT people in the church, which remains a contentious issue for many denominations. Fewer than half of Protestant senior pastors say their church allows LGBT people to serve, even in limited roles, LifeWay Research found.
When asked where LGBT people can serve, 34 percent of senior pastors say “nowhere.” Thirty percent say “anywhere.” Fifteen percent say LGBT people can serve in at least one role. Twenty-one percent aren’t sure or haven’t discussed the issue.
About half (51 percent) of mainline pastors say LGBT people can serve anywhere. By contrast, only 18 percent of evangelical pastors say the same.
Among denominational traditions, Presbyterian/Reformed pastors (66 percent) are most likely to say LGBT people can serve anywhere, followed by Methodists (49 percent) and Lutherans (42 percent). Baptists (8 percent) and Pentecostals (13 percent) are least likely.
Pentecostal (58 percent) and Baptist pastors (54 percent) are most likely to say LGBT people are not allowed to serve. Methodist (5 percent) and Presbyterian/Reformed pastors (14 percent) are least likely. Overall, 42 percent of evangelical pastors say there is nowhere for LGBT people to serve in church. Only 22 percent of mainline pastors agree.
A previous LifeWay Research study found most Protestant pastors believe same-sex marriage is morally wrong. So it’s no surprise few are asked to perform such ceremonies. There’s less consensus about the roles LGBT people can play in church.