- Associated Press - Thursday, September 11, 2014

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Overall acceptance of gays and lesbians in American religious congregations rose significantly between 2006 and 2012, but it declined in Catholic congregations, according to a new survey.

Duke University’s National Congregations Study, derived from interviews with representatives of 1,331 American congregations, was released Thursday.

The study found overall acceptance of gay and lesbian members increased from 37 percent to 48 percent over the six-year period. For Catholic churches, that number decreased from 74 percent to 53 percent.

Acceptance of gays and lesbians as volunteer leaders increased from 18 percent to 26 percent overall but decreased in Catholic churches from 39 percent to 26 percent.

Growth was especially strong among black Protestant churches, white liberal Protestant churches and non-Christian congregations.

White conservative Protestant churches were more accepting of gay and lesbian members but not volunteer leaders.

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