A new poll released by Reuters/Ipsos today is the latest to show that voters reject so-called Indiana-style “Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) bills that allow businesses to discriminate against LGBT citizens, the latest sign of growing momentum to ensure LGBT Americans are protected against discrimination.
According to Reuters, “The poll found solid opposition to allowing businesses to refuse services or refuse to hire people or groups based on religious beliefs. Fifty-four percent said it was wrong for businesses to refuse services, while 28 percent said they should have that right. And 55 percent said businesses should not have the right to refuse to hire certain people or groups based on the employer's religious beliefs, while 27 percent said businesses should have the right.”
In many states, the protections available for LGBT Americans are a patchwork at best and nonexistent at worst. Though marriage equality is the law of the land in 37 states and the District of Columbia, in 14 of those very same states where same-sex couples can be married, there are no explicit, reliable, fundamental federal protections for LGBT Americans with regard to issues like employment, housing, or access to public spaces, meaning that a same-sex couple risks being married one afternoon and fired the next morning.
"This poll shows that the thousands of ordinary Hoosiers and the business leaders who came together to stand up against discrimination in Indiana aren’t the exception, they’re the rule,” said Fred Sainz, HRC Vice President of Communications. “This poll shows that the time has come in this country for comprehensive legal non-discrimination protections for LGBT people.”
The findings in today’s poll mirror a national survey commissioned by the ABC/Washington Post in 2014. That survey also found voters strongly rejected the idea that businesses should be able to discriminate against LGBT customers. When asked, “Do you think businesses should or should not be allowed to refuse service to gays and lesbians?” 69 percent said that no, “businesses should not be able to discriminate.”
Finally, it should be noted that today’s Reuters/Ipsos survey is consistent with a recent national survey conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner for the Human Rights Campaign found that likely voters support a federal non-discrimination law by an overwhelming margin: 69 percent to 27 percent, support that exceeds even marriage equality and crosses partisan and demographic lines. According to the survey, voters across party lines overwhelmingly approved of a federal non-discrimination law. Republicans supported it 51 percent to 43 percent, Independents supported it 72 percent to 23 percent and Democrats supported it 80 percent to 18 percent. Read more about the survey here.
The survey also showed likely voters overwhelmingly supported the idea of ensuring federal law protects LGBT Americans from being discriminated when it comes to accessing public places like theaters and government buildings. Support for ensuring LGBT Americans had access to public spaces stood at 83 percent to 15 percent.
The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, 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.
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