According to a 2017 survey, members of the Mormon faith are increasingly supportive of gay marriage.
Roughly 40,000 phone interviews were tallied in last year's survey conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute, which found that 40 percent of Mormons now support gay marriage — up from 27 percent in 2013. Among the 18 to 24 age group, support is now at 52 percent.
Twenty-year-old Mormon Alex Landers says she supports the legalization of gay marriage particularly because her best friend is a bisexual man. She said, "I can't look at him and his boyfriend and tell them that they can't be happy and they can't love each other. Heavenly Father loves us for who we are. He wants us to be happy, as long as we're treating people well and we're being who we truly are and we're not hurting anyone."
The group Mormons Building Bridges works to develop ties between the LGBTQ and Mormon communities. Their co-founder, Erika Munson, says of the survey results, "This should be no surprise. Every Mormon family, or extended family, has an LGBTQ member, and more and more of these people are being open about their [sexual] orientation."
Munson says the church has been more proactive in adjusting their tone of instruction in terms of "how the gospel of Jesus connects to not judging just loving." But she added that "LGBTQ Mormons and their allies are still too often ostracized, criticized and judged at church," saying that in light of recent initiatives, a focus should be made on "the LGBTQ-LDS piece of our community's troubling [youth] suicide statistics."
While there has been an increased acceptance of gay marriage across all age groups, the demographic with the lowest approval of gay marriage was predictably the 65 and older crown, who favor the legalization of gay marriage at a rate of 32 percent.
The head of Mormon studies at Southern California's Claremont Graduate University, Patrick Mason, says the statistics are on par with other religions and how their population is adjusting "to a culture that is shifting, and rapidly so."
But Mason points to the generational divide in the church, saying that "[The leadership] can count on the support of the oldest members, but they cannot count on the support of, basically, the millennials...especially on these kinds of social issues. In other words: What happens when the membership no longer believes what the leadership is teaching?"