Media unfairly use too many anti-gay faith voices

Most US religious people are pro-gay but most media quote anti-LGBT faiths says GLAAD report

Media unfairly use too many anti-gay faith voices
12 April 2012

Three-quarters of religious people quoted by the US media about gay and trans issues are anti-LGBT.

That’s according to a new report by GLAAD, the LGBT media and anti-defamation organization, in partnership with the University of Missouri Center on Religion and the Professions.

GLAAD says three out of four religious messages came from people whose religions have formal policies opposing gay and trans equality, despite the fact that acceptance of LGBT people is growing across different faiths.

The three-year study showed that where national media in America quotes religious voices on LGBT issues, they over-use evangelical Christian individuals (34%) and organizations (50%) and that three-quarters of the comments made by these sources are overwhelmingly negative.

And it says over half of Catholics quoted took a negative stance on gay and trans issues, even though most Catholics support LGBT people.

By contrast mainstream media used far fewer religious sources from mainline Protestant (17%), Jewish (5%), or other religious sources but when they did, those messages were predominantly positive.

And the media freezes out self-identified Humanist, atheist, and agnostic spokespeople who are consulted at rates lower than their percentage of the United States population.

Ross Murray, director of the religion, faith and values program at GLAAD, said: ‘Today's media has a responsibility to reflect the diversity of religious voices, rather than just those who choose not to support LGBT people.

‘By elevating select anti-LGBT voices who are out of touch with so many in their own churches, media is falsely representing views of entire religious groups and contributing to a climate that isolates LGBT youth and adults from their faith, a false dichotomy that no one should have to make.’

The researchers studied 316 news stories about LGBT issues, using 1,387 different religious sources on national television and print news media, over three years.

GLAAD says it will be presenting findings to national and local newsrooms as part of a project to encourage more pro-LGBT religious voices.

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