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Support for LGBTQ Rights Continues to Grow, but White Evangelicals Remain Outliers

Support for LGBTQ Rights Continues to Grow, but White Evangelicals Remain Outliers

A sweeping poll from PRRI finds that American support for the expansion of LGBTQ rights continues its upwards trajectory unabated. The poll found that Americans broadly support laws that would protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in jobs, public accommodation and housing; forbidding small business owners from refusing to serve LGBTQ people; and allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry.

However, this growing support of same-sex marriage largely excludes White Evangelicals. Of all major religious groups surveyed, only White Evangelicals and Latter Day Saints have less than majority support for same-sex marriage.

That said, White Evangelical support for some of these issues is growing. Seventy-nine percent of Americans support laws that would ban discrimination against LGBTQ people, a jump from 71 percent in 2015. Unitarians (97 percent) and Catholics of color (87 percent) were the religious groups most likely to support such laws.  Of all groups surveyed, White Evangelical Protestants were second to last, with only 61 percent supporting them — a jump from 56 percent in 2015. Jehovah’s Witnesses were at the bottom, at 59 percent. Even so, majorities of every major religious, racial and ethnic group support such laws.

Opposition to religiously based refusals in small businesses polled differently. Sixty-six percent of all Americans oppose allowing business owners to refuse to serve LGBTQ people if it goes against their religious beliefs. White Evangelicals are by far the most likely to support such business owners, with only 38 percent in opposition — that number has remain unchanged since 2015. Latter Day Saints polled slightly higher at 44 percent. Otherwise, majorities in every major religious group surveyed oppose religiously based service refusals.

Sixty-eight percent of Americans support same-sex marriage, which has been legal since 2014. The religiously unaffiliated (87 percent), White Mainline Protestants (76 percent) and White Catholics (74 percent) are most likely to support same-sex marriage, while White Evangelicals (35 percent) are least likely.

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