RELIGIOUS people take as broad a view of what constitutes a
"family" as the general population does, new research suggests. But
only 21 per cent of those surveyed believe that churches are
welcoming to gays, lesbians, and bisexuals.
The YouGov survey of attitudes towards the family was
commissioned for the latest West-minster Faith Debate, held last
month: "What's a traditional family, and do we need it?" A total of
4437 adults were polled, including 1261 Anglicans, 354 Roman
Catholics, 58 Baptists, 162 of the Jewish faith, and 1649 who did
not identify with a faith.
Almost half (47 per cent) of the 4437 considered a same-sex
couple in a civil partnership to be a family, compared with half of
the Chris-tians. Seventy per cent of the entire sample applied this
definition to a same-sex couple with children, compared with
two-thirds of the Christians.
The perception that churches would not welcome gay people was
"clearly a problem for Churches", the director of the Religion and
Society Programme at Lancaster University, Professor Linda
Wood-head, said. "Not only because they fail to reflect the views
of most Christians, but because they purport to welcome people even
if they didn't necessarily approve of their lifestyle."