October 7, 2014

Blacks are lukewarm to gay marriage, but most say businesses must provide wedding services to gay couples

African Americans remain less likely than white Americans to support same-sex marriage, as has been the case for several years. But at the same time, a new Pew Research Center survey finds that a majority of blacks – a significantly bigger share than among whites – say that wedding-related businesses, such as caterers or florists, should be required to provide wedding services to gay and lesbian couples.

Race and Same-Sex MarriageOur aggregated 2014 polling has found that about four-in-ten black Americans (42 %) support same-sex marriage, 11 percentage points below the comparable figure among whites (53%). Meanwhile, seven-in-ten African Americans (70%) say that homosexual behavior is a sin, compared with 47% of whites who say this, according to our new survey.

On the same survey, we asked respondents for the first time whether they think businesses that provide wedding services should be allowed to refuse to serve same-sex couples for religious reasons. On this issue, blacks stand out as especially likely to say that such businesses should be required to provide the same services to gay and lesbian couples as they would to all other customers. About six-in-ten African Americans (61%) say wedding-related businesses should be required to serve same-sex couples, compared with 45% of whites who say the same.

Why do African Americans think wedding related businesses should be required to provide services to same-sex couples even though many harbor reservations about such unions? This may partly reflect empathy among African Americans for the perceived discrimination that gays and lesbians face in American society.

Most African Americans (80%) say that gays and lesbians face a lot of discrimination in the U.S., which is much higher than the number of whites who say this (61%). The poll also finds that, for the overall public, most people who think gays and lesbians face “a lot” of discrimination say that businesses should be required to provide services for same-sex weddings. By contrast, most people who think gays and lesbians do not face a lot of discrimination say businesses should not have to provide services for same-sex weddings.

Topics: African Americans, Gay Marriage and Homosexuality

  1. Photo of Claire Gecewicz

    is a research assistant focusing on religion at Pew Research Center.

  2. Photo of Michael Lipka

    is an editor focusing on religion at Pew Research Center.

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  1. Ardit Wallace3 weeks ago

    This is Exaggerated and Not True.

    PewResearch doesn’t says the True, they just making Blacks to look bad.

    I Think this Website is Racist.

    I’ve seen more Blacks Support Gay Marriage than Whites.

    The Accurate poll also finds that 59 percent of African Americans say they support same-sex marriage, up from an average of 41 percent in polls leading up to Obama’s announcement of his new position on the matter.


    Actually, 51-70% of the Respondents are Born Before-1980’s(Older Generation).

  2. Me2 years ago

    Blacks and gays are both been historically persecuted thought history. (Jim Crow laws/sodomy laws)

    It’s not really surprising to think blacks oppose “no gays allowed” businesses when in the 1960s they fought “no blacks allowed” businesses. Historically support for LGBT anti-discrimination laws have been supported overwhelming by the public, while support for gay marriage is divided. Also blacks and gays are both highly Democratic voting blocs.

    1. Ardit Wallace3 weeks ago


      I’ve never seen Blacks homophobic while i’ve seen whites homophobic.

  3. Packard Day2 years ago

    It is a good thing we never put this question to an anonymous vote in any statewide referendum…Oh wait, we did. And our wise judges then cast their own trump votes. Let’s move on.
    “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others”…ehh?

    1. Hillary2 years ago

      What is the size of population?
      We are given %:
      80% of 10 interviewed, 100 interviewed, hundreds of thousands interviewed?
      !Indication not a definite conclusion!

      1. Ramon F. Herrera8 months ago

        “What is the size of population?”

        A course in Statistics and Probability will teach you the concept of PROPER SAMPLE. It is derived from The Law of Large Numbers. If you interview people beyond the sample you will be wasting your money. The percentages will be as follows:

        10 interviewed: 4 support
        100 interviewed: 42 support
        1000 interviewed: 42.4% support
        10,000 interviewed: 42.47% support
        100,000 interviewed: 42.475% support.

        You spent A LOT of money, in getting those tiny extra decimal points.