Survey: Support for religious objection refusals of LGBTQ is small but growing

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Source: PRRI April 2019 Survey.

Source: PRRI April 2019 Survey.

WASHINGTON — A survey released Tuesday found that while two-thirds of Americans oppose allowing businesses to refuse service because of a religious objection, a growing number think it should be allowed.

The survey from PRRI found that the biggest jump in religious based refusals involved LGBTQ people, going from 16% to 30%. Even with the jump, 67% oppose to such a police with gay and lesbian people and 68% oppose it for transgender people.

However, nearly one-quarter (24%) of Americans think it is permissible to deny service to atheists if doing so violates their religious beliefs, compared to 22% with reference to Muslims, 19% to Jews, and 15% to African Americans.

“A small but increasing number of Americans think it should be permissible to turn away customers based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, or race,” said PRRI CEO and founder Robert P. Jones in a press release. “While legislative agendas and the media has mostly focused on such policies in relationship to the LGBTQ community, this survey indicates that these sentiments about religiously based service refusals extend to other minority groups such as atheists, Muslims, Jews, and African Americans.”

There was a partisan difference with 47% of Republicans support religion-based refusals, compared to only 21% in 2014. Only 18% of Democrats and 24% of independents supported such a policy, but even that was an increase from 2014, with 11% among Democrats and 16% with independents.

Other findings:

  • More than one in five (22%) Americans say small businesses should be able to refuse to serve Muslims on religious grounds. Men are more likely than women to agree (25% vs. 20%). Around three in ten white evangelical Protestants (32%) and white mainline Protestants (28%) say small businesses should be allowed to refuse to serve Muslims for religious reasons, compared to around one in five nonwhite Protestants (21%), Catholics (19%), and the religiously unaffiliated (17%) who say the same.
  • Republicans are more than twice as likely as Democrats to support religiously based refusals to serve gay or lesbian people (47% vs. 18%), transgender people (44% vs. 19%), atheists (37% vs. 17%), and Muslims (32% vs. 14%).

This comes just days after a survey from GLAAD saw a drop in support for LGBTQ people among young Americans.

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