Survey Shows That Majorities Across All Religious Groups, Including Conservative Christians, Support Anti-Discrimination Laws Protecting LGBT People

Majorities in Every State Across the Country Favor Nondiscrimination Protections for LGBT People. Graphic courtesy of PRRI

A new report from the Public Religion Research Institute finds that strong majorities within all religious groups, including white evangelicals and Jehovah’s Witnesses, show sustained support for LGBT nondiscrimination policies.

The newly released data from PRRI’s 2018 American Values Atlas, an annual survey of more than 40,000 Americans, showed that 69 percent of all Americans are in favor of enacting laws shielding LGBT people from discrimination in jobs, public accommodations and housing.

The two faith groups least likely to support these policies, according to the survey, were white evangelical Protestants and Jehovah’s Witnesses, but even they were in favor of laws protecting LGBT people by small majorities, at 54 percent for white evangelicals and 53 percent for Jehovah’s Witnesses.

“Especially in these times and with this sort of politically charged issue, to see this level of agreement is actually pretty striking,” said Maxine Najle, a research associate at PRRI. “We found broad support from pretty much every demographic, from every state and every major religious group – even among the groups who are generally more conservative on these LGBT issues.”

While PRRI polling has found that religious resistance to same-sex marriage is declining, with more and more groups moving to a plurality of support, only about a third of white evangelical Protestants said they support same-sex marriage last year.

But on LGBT anti-discrimination policies, the support runs much deeper.

The highest agreement came among Americans who follow New Age faiths, at 86 percent. Jews, Hindus and Buddhists were all well above 70 percent, as were those who identified as religiously unaffiliated. Only slightly less in favor of LGBT protections, at about 70 percent, were Mormons, Catholics, white mainline Protestants and those who followed other religions PRRI does not track. Around 60 percent of nonwhite Protestants, Muslims and Orthodox Christians also said they favored such protections.

Majorities of Americans across the political spectrum, too, said they support LGBT nondiscrimination policies. About 79 percent of Democrats, 70 percent of independents and 56 percent of Republicans said they would support such laws – though Republican support has fallen from 61 percent in 2015.

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Source: Religion News Service