New Polling Shows Majority of Americans Oppose Religious-Based Refusals of Service

By George Simpson • October 12, 2017 • 4:23 pm

A non-partisan organization has released more evidence underlining Americans’ strong national opposition to restricting rights for LGBT people. PRRI has found that most Americans (53%) do not think that businesses in the wedding industry should be allowed to discriminate against same-sex couples. When defined more broadly, 56% of Americans oppose religious refusal carve-outs that would allow other types of small businesses to discriminate.

PRRI’s poll also demonstrates majorities for laws that ban discrimination against LGBT people, for allowing transgender people to serve in the military, for marriage equality, and against allowing adoption agencies that receive federal funding to discriminate.

Notably, respondents who are people of color were more likely to oppose these carve-outs, with 61% of African-Americans and 68% of Latinos opposing them. White evangelical protestants were more likely than other groups to think wedding vendors should be allowed to turn away same-sex couples. As has been seen in similar polls, women and younger Americans are more likely to think small businesses should have to treat everyone fairly.   

The principle that businesses should not discriminate has been debated in several courts recently –despite increasing victories for LGBT people –and it’s the centerpiece of a U.S. Supreme Court case, Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which will be heard on December 5.

PRRI (Public Religion Research Institute) is a “nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to conducting independent research at the intersection of religion, culture, and public policy.”


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