Large majorities of U.S. adults across different racial, ethnic, and religious identities oppose religious-based discrimination against LGBTQ+ people, according to a new Williams Institute report.
Even majorities of Republicans oppose religious-based anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination, the report found. Its findings suggest that Republican-led attacks on LGBTQ+ civil rights — many of which are couched in religious terms — are actually opposed by most American adults.
A survey of non-LGBTQ Americans show large majorities disagree with right-wing discrimination.
The data came from the Williams Institute’s September 2022 survey of a nationally representative sample of 1,003 adults.
Approximately 84% of survey respondents said they opposed religious-based denials of healthcare to LGBTQ+ people, 74% opposed religious-based anti-LGBTQ+ employment discrimination, and 71% opposed business employees denying services to LGBTQ+ people based on the employees or employer’s religious beliefs.
Over 80% of respondents in all non-white racial and ethnic groups opposed the use of religious beliefs to deny LGBTQ+ people business services, medical care, and employment. About 70% of white respondents felt the same. Female, younger, or college-educated respondents were also more likely to oppose religious-based anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination than respondents who are men, older in age, or non-college educated.
While Democrats unsurprisingly opposed these various types of religious-based anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination by about 90%, the report surprisingly found that Republican majorities also opposed such discrimination: 52% opposed religious-based refusal of business services to LGBTQ+ people, 54% opposed religious-based anti-LGBTQ+ employment discrimination, and 71% opposed religious-based anti-LGBTQ+ healthcare discrimination.
Respondents who personally know LGBTQ+ people were more likely to oppose such religious-based discrimination, the report found. However, even respondents who don’t personally know LGBTQ+ people were also opposed to religious-based anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination by margins of 65% to 80%.
Even majorities of Protestant/Christian, Catholic, and non-Christian faiths opposed such religious-based anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination.
When asked about their support for allowing religious-based anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination, less than 30% of respondents in almost every different demographic supported allowing such discrimination.
These findings matter specifically because Republicans have introduced over 400 anti-LGBTQ+ bills in state legislatures nationwide. Many have been couched in religious justifications.
Florida, for example, passed a law in May that allows any medical worker or insurer to deny care to anyone based on “ethical, moral, or religious beliefs.” The U.S. Supreme Court is also about to issue a ruling on whether religious beliefs should permit public-facing businesses to violate LGBTQ+ anti-discrimination laws.
“Recent efforts by some state legislatures to expand religious exemptions from LGBTQ-inclusive non-discrimination laws are largely out of alignment with the views of most Americans,” wrote Christy Mallory, Legal Director at the Williams Institute and author of the study. “More than three in four Americans now favor civil rights laws protecting LGBTQ people against religiously motivated discrimination.”