A new poll by an anti-LGBT rights Christian campaign group has found that a clear majority of Americans, particularly younger people, support gay rights.

The survey, run by the Southern Baptist Convention’s polling arm, LifeWay, found that a majority of Americans believed that “homosexuality is a civil rights issue like gender, race and age”.

The Southern Baptist Convention has been heavily critical of efforts towards equal marriage, and also against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

Last year the group passed a resolution “opposing the idea that gay rights are the same as civil rights,” reports Right Wing Watch.

Richard Land, the top political spokesman for the SBC, claimed the devil is behind homosexuality and said that gay rights would lead to “paganization” as well as divine judgement.

Land went on to compare his anti-gay activism to Martin Luther King Jr’s leadership of the Civil Rights Movement.

The poll found that 64% of respondents agreed that “it is inevitable that same-sex marriage will become legal throughout the United States,” while 80% disagree that employers should be allowed to discriminate based on sexual preference.

58% of those polled agreed that, “like age, race, and gender, homosexuality is a civil rights issue,” and “more Americans do not believe homosexual behavior is a sin than those who believe it is a sin.”

The poll found that women, young people and those with college degrees were more likely to support gay rights.

These findings lined up with bipartisan analysis of exit polls which found concentration of those opposed to equal marriage among the white, elderly, and evangelical Christian people, and those without college degrees.

In January, Southern Baptist Convention president Fred Luther told the Baptist Press that he thought “it’s a sad day” if the Boy Scouts of America lifted its ban on gay volunteers, members and staff. 

The SBC has suggested that it might pull its funding from the BSA if it decides to drop its national policy banning gay members, volunteers and staff.

In June last year, the SBC adopted a resolution at its annual conference criticising marriage equality advocates who adopted the ‘rhetoric of the civil rights movement’ and drew comparisons between discrimination against gay couples and racism.