Americans Agree: Businesses Should Be Open to All

A new national survey captures the feelings of a strong majority of Americans who believe that businesses should not be allowed to deny services to people based on their sexual orientation (81%) or gender identity (80%). In a comparable question, 75% of Americans believe that when a business opens their door to the public, they should be open to all and serve everyone on the same terms. The results of The Harris Poll®, conducted in conjunction with Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, may be found in full online at amplify this finding, the survey also reports that nearly 9 out of 10 (89%) Americans say they are very likely or somewhat likely to support or shop at a business that does not discriminate on sexual orientation or gender identity, along with race, ethnicity, national origin, sex, religion or disability. By the same overwhelming margin (89%), Americans also say they are very likely or somewhat likely to work for a business that does not discriminate on all these characteristics.

Erin Uritus, CEO of Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, welcomed the results: “In our extensive experience, Americans are sincerely accepting and welcoming. These ingrained beliefs are mirrored by business leaders who understand that all forms of discrimination are toxic for the marketplace and workplace. Out & Equal has helped shape and accelerate this culture by educating corporations and advocating for the equality of LGBT workplaces for over two decades.”

Uritus added that the post-Masterpiece era today has emboldened corporations to strengthen their commitment to nondiscrimination. This past June, the U.S. Supreme Court narrowly ruled in favor of a Colorado baker who relied on his religious beliefs to refuse to prepare a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. “The tide is rising for acceptance globally and not just here in the U.S. That evidence is best shown by the many multinational brands and executives who join us at this year’s Summit.”

These and other findings were included in the 2018 Out & Equal Workplace Survey, released today. This popular study was conducted online between September 13 and 17, by The Harris Poll® in conjunction with Out & Equal Workplace Advocates among 2,006 U.S. adults, of whom 184 self-identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender. First launched in 2002, the unique Out & Equal Workplace Survey is a highly trusted barometer of attitudes surrounding LGBTQ issues in the workplace and the longest-running national opinion survey of its kind.

These survey results were formally presented today by John Gerzema, CEO of The Harris Poll. Gerzema is considered a pioneer in the use of data to identify social change and help leaders and organizations anticipate and adapt to new trends and demands. He appeared at a featured panel today at the 2018 Out & Equal Workplace Summit in Seattle, the world’s largest gathering of LGBTQ business leaders and professionals and joined by more than 300 Fortune 500 corporations and guests from over 32 nations.

“Despite America’s polarization during this charged election cycle, the Harris Poll reflects the truth that fundamental fairness matters deeply to most Americans” said John Gerzema of The Harris Poll. “The pace of change towards acceptance of LGBTQ equality continues to set high marks, and underscores why so many business leaders are outspoken champions for the community.”

2018 Out & Equal Workplace Summit
The 2018 Out & Equal Workplace Summit concludes today in Seattle, Washington, successfully attracting a record 6,000 attendees from more than 32 countries. LGBTQ executives, employees and straight allies, along with human resources and diversity professionals, representing a broad cross-section of the nation’s leading companies—a majority from the Fortune 500 — are participating in this year’s Summit, focused on achieving workplace equality and inclusion.

For more information about the Summit, please visit


This Harris Poll was conducted online (in partnership with Out & Equal with guidance and support from Witeck Communications) within the United States between September 13 and 17, 2018, among 2,006 adults (ages 18 and over), of whom 184 self-identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender. Figures for age, sex, race, education, region and income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting also was used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, The Harris Poll avoids the words “margin of error” as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in The Harris Poll surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in The Harris Poll, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

About Out & Equal Workplace Advocates

Out & Equal Workplace Advocates is the world’s premiere nonprofit organization dedicated to achieving lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workplace equality. Out & Equal collaborates with Fortune 1000 companies and government agencies to provide a safe, welcoming and supportive environment for LGBT employees. For over two decades, since 1996, Out & Equal has worked with executives, human resources professionals and Employee Resource Groups to provide leadership and professional development, education and research.

Out & Equal hosts an annual Workplace Summit, where employees and experts from around the world gather to share strategies and best practices to create workplace equality, inclusive of all sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions. For more information go to

About The Harris Poll®
The Harris Poll is one of the longest running surveys in the U.S.  tracking public opinion, motivations and social sentiment since 1963 that is now part of Harris Insights & Analytics, a global consulting and market research firm that delivers social intelligence for transformational times. We work with clients in three primary areas; building twenty-first-century corporate reputation, crafting brand strategy and performance tracking, and earning organic media through public relations research. Our mission is to provide insights and advisory to help leaders make the best decisions possible. For more information, or to see other recent polls, visit us at and follow us on Twitter @HarrisPoll.

About Witeck Communications, Inc.

Witeck Communications, Inc. ( is a leading strategic marketing communications firm, specializing in outreach, advocacy and engagement with LGBTQ communities.  In 2003, American Demographics magazine identified Bob Witeck one of 25 experts over the last 25 years who has made significant contributions to demographics, market research, media and trend spotting for his path breaking work on the LGBTQ market.