The Pew Research Center's new survey results shed light on religion's role in American society and offer up an intriguing look at the public's ever-evolving views on same-sex marriage.
While polls conducted over the past few years have shown a paradigm shift in support for gay nuptials, the latest data from Pew captured a slight drop in support for same-sex unions, leading researchers to wonder whether the results are an anomaly or the beginning of a leveling off of opinion on the issue.
Nearly half of Americans (49 percent) in the latest wave of research favor allowing gay marriages, with 41 percent of the nation expressing opposition. The current level of support for same sex marriage is down five percentage points since the firm asked the same question in February.
Pew Research Center
There's also another indicator worth noting: the proportion of those who believe homosexuality is a sin, which increased from 45 percent in 2013 to 50 percent in the most recent survey.
The Pew Research Center said in its new report that it is too early to tell whether these proportions constitute an "anomaly or the beginning of a reversal or leveling off in attitudes toward gay marriage after years of steadily increasing public acceptance."
Regardless, support for gay marriage, over time, has increased substantially.
As TheBlaze previously reported, the research also found that Americans are starkly divided over whether wedding-related businesses should be forced to serve gay and lesbian clients.
When asked whether businesses should be permitted to refuse matrimonial service based on “religious reasons,” 47 percent of respondents agreed that they should, while 49 percent said owners should be required to serve gay couples; four percent didn’t know which side to take.
The research, which was conducted among 2,002 U.S. adults from September 2-9, also found that the vast majority of respondents (72 percent) believe that religion is losing its influence in American society.
But most aren’t happy with this change, with 56 percent of the nation calling it a negative development.