More Americans support anti-discrimination protects for LGBTQ+ persons than ever before, according to a new report from the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI). The findings shed light on public perception of LGBTQ+ as the Senate considers passage of the Equality Act. The report also suggests that at a time when we seem more divided than ever along partisan lines, the majority of Americans across all regions and demographics support greater protections for the LGBTQ+.
Out of the over 10,000 Americans surveyed, 76% favor laws that would protect LGBTQ+ while only 19% oppose such laws. Demographically, support among Black Americans and white mainline Protestants has grown by nearly 10% between 2015 and 2020, and support has also risen among Multiracial Americans, Black Protestants, Democrats, and Independents.
The report also found that support for protections among Republican respondents has risen to 62% following a period of decline between 2015 and 2020. For the first time, a majority of Republicans (51%) indicated support for same-sex marriage. Regardless of party affiliation, women were more likely to support protections than men.
Surprisingly, a majority of respondents from across the country were in support of LGBTQ+ protections regardless of geographic region. The highest support was expressed in the Pacific and Mid Atlantic regions (79%); the lowest percentage (69%) — reported in the East South Central region (Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi) — still showed a vast majority in support of protections.
Another unexpected result was that a majority of Americans opposed allowing businesses to discriminate against the LGBTQ+ based on religious reasons (61%). Only 33% were in favor of allowing religious exemptions.
However, bipartisan support nationwide does not necessarily translate into Senate support for the Equality Act. Currently, no Republican senators have committed to voting for the bill, with many arguing that it would infringe upon religious rights.
“The data is clear: the vast majority of Americans support LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections no matter where they live, the party they belong to, or the church they belong to,” said PRRI director of research Natalie Jackson in a statement to the press. “Despite the Equality Act garnering only three Republican votes in the House, as senators consider their votes, they should pay attention to the fact that Americans — including Republicans — are very much on board with the principles of the legislation.”