Survey Finds Broad Support for LGBT Nondiscrimination Protections

March 27, 2019 by Dan McCue
Rance Collins, left, reaches to hold Kaela Rembaum from his friend and father of the baby, Ryan Rembaum, right, at the Hollywood United Methodist Church on March 3, 2019, in Los Angeles. The Hollywood United Methodist Church is a so-called Reconciling Ministry, which welcomes LGBTQ people. (Dania Maxwell/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

On the heels of Congress’ introduction of the Equality Act, a landmark national survey of over 40,000 Americans has found that seven in 10 Americans support nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people.

The survey released Tuesday by the nonprofit and nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute also found that nearly six in 10 Americans oppose allowing small businesses to refuse services to gay and lesbian people based on religious objections.

The only major groups in which a majority oppose same-sex marriage are white evangelical Protestants and Republicans, the survey found.

The Institute also found that 69 percent — including majorities in all 50 states — favor laws protecting LGBT people from discrimination in jobs, public accommodations, and housing.

The support for LGBT protections was highest in the Northeast (72 percent) and West (72 percent) states, majorities in the Midwest (68 percent) and South (65 percent) were also supportive.

Even in states with the lowest levels of support, such as South Carolina (58 percent) and Arkansas (56 percent), there is significant support for these policies, the survey found.

“The broad support for laws to protect LGBT people from discrimination represents a rarity in our polarized politics today—an issue that actually brings Americans together across partisan, religious, and geographic lines,” said PRRI CEO Robert Jones.

The report also found that the nationwide strength of support for nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people transcends age and religion.

Three in four Americans (76 percent) ages 18-29 favor these protections, as do 59 percent of Americans ages 65 and over.

Solid majorities of all major religious groups in the U.S. support laws protecting LGBT people from discrimination in housing, public accommodations, and the workplace.

Among major religious groups, the strongest supporters of LGBT nondiscrimination protections are Unitarian Universalists (90 percent), Jews (80 percent), Hindus (79 percent), Buddhists (75 percent), and religiously unaffiliated Americans (78 percent).

Even majorities of faith traditions that have been historically more opposed to LGBT rights support these protections, the survey found.

Fully seven in 10 Mormons (70 percent), along with 65 percent of black Protestants, 60 percent of Muslims, 54 percent of white evangelical Protestants, and 53 percent of Jehovah’s Witnesses favor LGBT nondiscrimination laws.

The survey was conducted through telephone interviews between March 14 and 25, 2018. It was a follow-up to an earlier survey conducted between June 27, 2018, and July 8, 2018.

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