"Gay flag" by Guanaco is licensed under Public Domain

More Americans OK with businesses not serving gays based on religion, survey finds

Apr 15, 2020

By Tim Fitzsimons

Support for LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections edged up slightly from 2015 to 2019, but during that same time, support for “religious refusal” laws that allow businesses to deny service to gay men and lesbians increased, according to an annual survey released Tuesday by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute, or PRRI.

Seventy-two percent of the more than 40,000 Americans surveyed said they favored nondiscrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals in 2019, a five-year high, while 56 percent said they opposed allowing small businesses to refuse products and services to gays if doing so would violate their religious beliefs, down from 61 percent in 2016.

Robert P. Jones, CEO of PRRI, called this a “complex finding” and noted that views on religiously based service refusals buck the broader trend of increasing support for LGBTQ rights and protections found in PRRI’s 2019 American Values Atlas.

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