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GLAAD STUDY: Pro-Gay Religious Voices Scarce in Media

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The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation has found that national news media outlets rely far more heavily on ANTI-gay religious voices than PRO-gay clergy, in stories about LGBT equality.

The gay media watchdog released the results of its joint study with the University of Missouri Center on Religion and the Professions on Thursday. The study examined more than 300 LGBT news stories from a three-year period that used nearly 1400 different religious sources on both T.V. and print media.

GLAAD found that THREE out of every FOUR religious messages used came from people whose faiths formally oppose LGBT equality, though acceptance of homosexuality in general continues to grow.

Ross Murray is the director of GLAAD’s Religion, Faith and Values Program. He says the findings prove that news outlets continue to resort to “the same [anti-gay] voices that they’ve used in the past,” thus neglecting to include PRO-LGBT religious voices in their coverage.

MURRAY: What it does, is it gives the impression that to be religious means you must be inherently anti-gay. And for someone to watch, must say, ‘Oh that’s what Christians are like, or that’s what religious people are like,’ and it doesn’t give a full point. And it’s harmful because it ignores the reality of all the religious folks that are LGBT supportive, and they’re not supportive despite their faith, they’re supportive because of it.

GLAAD noticed that the national media typically interview disapproving evangelical Christian individuals and organizations as counterpoint voices, saying they comprise about 40 percent of ALL anti-gay statements in the news. Catholics come in at a distant second with another 12 percent.

Murray says GLAAD is forwarding the study results to news outlets nationwide as an education tool. He adds that the group is now working to “amplify” the voices of faith leaders from LGBT affirming religions.

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