Americans favor same-sex unions, overwhelmingly support religious freedoms

by Vanessa Garcia Rodriguez, |
A cake made by Gresham, Oregon, baker Sweet Cakes by Melissa Bakery for Air Force Senior Master Sergeant Phillip Monk, an evangelical Christian who was originally relieved of duty for his beliefs on marriage. | Sweet-Cakes-by-Melissa Facebook Page

SALT LAKE CITY (Christian Examiner) -- As the U.S. Supreme court mulls the matter of legalizing gay marriage across the nation, a new poll suggests the same people who favor the unions may also favor upholding the religious freedoms of wedding industry businesses that wish to turn away same-sex couples due to their faith.

Can you have your cake and eat it too?

According to a new Associated Press-GfK Poll released Feb. 5, American's are divided 48 percent to 48 percent on the pending Supreme Court ruling set to be decided by June.

However, as many as 57 percent of those questioned said that wedding vendors, like the Oregon Christian bakery owners found guilty of discrimination after declining services to a lesbian couple, should be permitted to refuse selling their services for religious reasons.

The online survey designed to represent the national population polled first screened its 1,045 adult participants by phone and mail before conducting an online interview Jan. 29 - Feb. 2.

The survey reported 44 percent supported the legalization of gay marriage in their own state while 39 percent opposed the marriages. Reportedly 15 percent were undecided or held no opinion of the issue. Still nearly one quarter of individuals in favor legal same-sex marriage also favored religious exemptions for those who issue marriage licenses, the AP study stated.

Additionally, half of American's said they thought "local officials and judges with religious objections ought to be exempt from any requirement that they issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples," The AP Poll revealed.

In June if the court rules to throw out the few remaining same-sex marriage bans, and measures for religious freedoms are not established, more businesses like Oregon's Sweet Cakes by Melissa could face bankruptcy over steep financial penalties incurred by maintaining their religious freedoms instead of complying with federal law that requires them to sell to same-sex couples.

The AP-GFK Poll uses a sample drawn from GFK -- one of the world's largest research companies -- to ensure representation of the overall American population.