November 2017 Church & State - November 2016

Poll Shows Opposition To Religiously Based Forms Of Discrimination

  AU admin

A recent survey by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) revealed that a majority of Americans support LGBTQ rights and oppose religiously based discrimination – although it’s a bare majority on several topics.

PRRI found that 53 percent of Americans oppose allowing businesses that provide wedding services – such as caterers, florists and bakers – to refuse services to same-sex couples. Young adults are more strongly opposed to this religion-based discrimination, with 64 percent opposing such refusals of service.

“White evangelical Protestants are the only major religious group in which a majority supports religiously based service refusals to gay and lesbian people,” the survey’s authors wrote on Sept. 14.

The polls show that 60 percent of white evangelicals believe small bus­inesses should be permitted to use religious beliefs as an excuse to discriminate. Noted PRRI, “Fewer than half of white mainline Protestants (44 percent), black Protestants (41 percent), white Catholics (36 percent), religiously unaffiliated Americans (31 percent), and members of non-Christian religions (30 percent) agree.”

Americans more overwhelmingly support anti-discrimination laws that protect the LGBTQ community. PRRI found 72 percent of Americans favor laws that would protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in jobs, public accommodations and housing.

With favorable responses of better than 60 percent in each category, Americans also showed strong support for allowing transgender people to serve in the U.S. military, allowing same-sex couples to marry and preventing federally funded adoption agencies from refusing to place children with gay and lesbian couples.

PRRI found a closer divide over the question of bathroom access.

“The public remains somewhat divided over whether transgender people should be required to use bathrooms that align with their sex at birth or whether they should be allowed to use facilities that match their current gender identity,” the survey’s authors found. Barely half of respondents said they’d oppose anti-transgender bathroom bans.


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