Americans reacting to the Supreme Court's approval of same sex marriage desire a truce between religious freedom and gay rights, but if pushed, overwhelmingly side with protecting the liberty of their faith by a margin of 4 to 1, according to a new national survey.

The degree of their fierce support for religious freedom and liberty jumps when given this choice:

"Suppose a Christian wedding photographer has deeply held religious beliefs opposing same sex marriage. If a same sex couple wanted to hire the photographer for their wedding, should the photographer have the right to say no?"

A huge 82 percent said yes.

AP Photo

The poll was conducted by Caddell Associates and shows both sides of the debate over gay rights and religious liberty. On the one hand, Pat Caddell said in a memo provided to Secrets, 71 percent of Americans want the nation to produce "a commonsense solution that both protects religious freedom and gay and lesbian couples from discrimination."

But by a margin of 4 to 1, they will pick religious freedom and liberty over gay rights in a "cultural war."

"When asked which was more important, by a 4 to 1 ratio, voters said protecting religious liberty (31 percent) over protecting gay and lesbian rights (8 percent)," said Caddell, who added that most of the rest said both are important.

The potential for a war is great, since a top Obama official suggested during the recent same sex marriage case that the administration could force groups opposed to gay weddings on religious ground to buckle under. There have been several standoffs and legal cases pitting businesses against gay rights groups.

On that issue, Caddell found very little support for the Obama administration's meddling in the affairs of religious-affiliated groups and businesses.

He wrote:

"More than two thirds (68 percent) disagreed that the federal and state government should be able to require by law a private citizen to provide a service or their property for an event that is contrary to their religious beliefs. Only 18 percent agreed. Indeed, 51 percent strongly disagreed with this.

"When asked whether it should be up to the federal government to determine what constitutes legitimate religious beliefs only 11 percent agreed and a massive 79 percent disagreed. Indeed, even two thirds of those on the 'left' of the segmentation disagreed."

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.