As the Supreme Court of the United States is poised to rule in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission — a case involving a Denver-area baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple — a major new national survey found a strong majority of Americans in every state oppose licenses to discriminate against LGBTQ people.
The Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) survey also found “broad, growing” support for marriage equality, including among most religious groups across the U.S., and overwhelming support for LGBTQ equality among Americans age 18-29 — no matter their religious or party affiliation, race, ethnicity or gender.
The remarkable findings released this week showcase how far our nation has come in recognizing the importance of achieving fundamental fairness, and the growing commitment coast-to-coast to full equality for all Americans.
Strong Support for Non-Discrimination LGBTQ Protections
PRRI’s 2017 Atlas of American Values report, which surveyed more than 40,000 Americans, found that there is broad support for laws that protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination in jobs, public accommodations and housing. Seven in 10 (70 percent) Americans favor non-discrimination protections for LGBT people, including more than one-third (35 percent) who strongly favor them.
HRC has been instrumental in lobbying for the Equality Act, federal legislation would provide consistent and explicit non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people across key areas of life, including employment, housing, credit, education, public spaces and services, federally funded programs, and jury service.
Opposition to Licenses to Discriminate Across the Country
The survey also found that six in 10 (60 percent) Americans oppose allowing small businesses to refuse service to LGBTQ people due to religious objections — the central issue argued before the Supreme Court in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, which could set a dangerous precedent in giving businesses a license to discriminate. Additionally, the study found that a majority of Americans in nearly every state believe small business owners in their state should not be allowed to refuse service to LGBTQ people.
Majority of Religious Denominations Oppose Licenses to Discriminate
In another encouraging finding, PRRI found that most religious groups in the U.S. do not believe small business owners should have a license to discriminate against LGBTQ people. Those opposing such discrimination include 65 percent of Black Protestants, 60 percent of white mainline Protestants, 60 percent of Hispanic Catholics, 59 percent of white Catholics, 57 percent of Orthodox Christians and 55 percent of Hispanic Protestants. Additionally, 86 percent of Unitarian Universalists, 73 percent of Buddhists, 70 percent of Jews, 59 percent of Muslims and 56 percent of Hindus also oppose licenses to discriminate..
Support for Marriage Equality Continues to Expand Across Race & Religion
Since the Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality in 2015, support continues to grow. The survey found that 61 percent of Americans now support marriage equality, up from 52 percent in 2013.
According to PRRI’s findings, the rise in support for marriage equality has also led to a significant milestone: A majority of all racial and ethnic groups favor allowing same-sex couples to marry legally.
Most religious groups in the U.S. also support marriage equality, including 97 percent of Unitarians, 80 percent of Buddhists, 77 percent of Jewish Americans, 75 percent of Hindus, 67 percent of white mainline Protestants, 66 percent of white Catholics, 66 percent of Orthodox Christians, and 65 percent of Hispanic Catholics. And for the first time, a slim majority of Muslims (51 percent) favor same-sex nuptials -- in 2014, 51 percent of Muslims opposed marriage equality. Eighty percent of religiously unaffiliated Americans also support marriage equality.
These encouraging results continue to shine a spotlight on the broader acceptance of the LGBTQ community. From exchanging vows to being treated equally in all walks of life, Americans across the country recognize that all people, regardless of who they love, deserve to be treated equally and fairly under the law.