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December 13, 2011

Category: Federal Advocacy, Workplace

New HRC Poll Finds Vast Majority of Voters Support Employment Anti-Discrimination Laws

Poll shows array of demographic groups support LGBT employment protections

WASHINGTON – As another indicator that public opinion continues to shift in favor of fairness, the vast majority of Americans support employment non-discrimination laws protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people from discrimination, according to new polling released today by the Human Rights Campaign in partnership with Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research.  In perhaps the most compelling finding, support for employment protections spans an array of demographics including: the majority of Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Catholics, Protestants, weekly churchgoers, and even born again Christians, and across age and race.  There is currently no federal non-discrimination law covering sexual orientation or gender identity and only limited state protections.  Legislation to address this issue, the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA), is pending in Congress.  HRC is working with allies on Capitol Hill to increase the number of cosponsors and build support to pass ENDA.           

The poll found a vast majority (77 percent) of voters support protecting LGBT people from discrimination in employment.  The support for employment protections defies conventional political wisdom, reaching across party and ideological lines.  Seventy percent of self-identified Republicans and 67 percent of conservatives support anti-discrimination laws.  Support is strong even among groups who tend to be less supportive of LGBT issues, such as seniors (69 percent among voters over age 65), those with a high school degree or less (68 percent), observant Christians (77 percent), born-again Christians (74 percent), and residents of the Deep South (72 percent).

In a finding showing a need for more public outreach and education for employment non-discrimination laws, most voters believe anti-discrimination laws already exist.  Eighty-seven percent of voters believe it is illegal under federal law to fire someone for being gay and 78 percent believe it is illegal under state law.  Even in states without anti-discrimination laws, 75 percent of voters think it is illegal under state law to fire someone for being gay or lesbian.       

“We are at a cultural tipping point in the fight for LGBT equality,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese.  “Support for employment protections for LGBT workers is tipping the scale even further toward fairness for all people.  What is most promising is that people of all political, religious, and ideological persuasions clearly support non-discrimination laws protecting LGBT people.”   

The telephone survey, including cell phones was conducted 11/9/11 through 11/13/11 among 800 likely voters.  It has a margin of error of +/- 3.46 percent.  View the polling results at: {assets_Array:http://s3.amazonaws.com/hrc-assetsfiles\/assets\/resources\/ENDA_Polling_Memo_Dec_2011.pdf

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The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.