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Support for religious-based discrimination is declining among Americans

Support for religious-based discrimination is declining among Americans

According to a new report by the Public Religion Research Institute, fewer Americans support religious-based discrimination than before. The study was based on forty thousand interviews, and showed that about 60% of Americans were opposed to companies refusing service on religious grounds, for example, if the customer is gay and the company owner thinks that is a sin. While this is approximately the same percentage as they found in a similar report last year, the break down has changed between religious groups.

A breakdown of how various religious groups supported religious based discrimination

White Evangelical Protestants still overall support the idea, but by a smaller margin now. In 2015, 56% supported religious-based discrimination, but in 2016, only 50% did, with about 8% choosing not to respond. White Mainline Protestants, including Episcopalians, have seen opposition to the discrimination rise from 56% to 62%.

The poll focused on treatment of LGBTQI+ people, such as in the famous case when the baker refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple. “For the first time in a PRRI poll of this size, no major religious group reports majority support for religiously based service refusals of gay and lesbian Americans,” said PRRI CEO Robert P. Jones in a statement.

The PRRI also broke the results down by state, showing that in every state but Alaska, a majority opposed religious-based discrimination, with an average of 61% in opposition.

Results broken down by state

Support for such refusals is declining across the political spectrum as well, despite the continued introduction of bills such as the new law in Texas that allows faith-based adoption services to refuse adoption “under circumstances that conflict with the provider’s sincerely held religious beliefs.” And yet, even though such bills are mostly put forward and supported by Republicans, their party saw one of the greatest drops in the belief that religious-based discrimination should be legal.

Support for religious-based discrimination dropping in all major political parties
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David Allen

Hopefully some of this info gets submitted to the USSC in pro-LGBTQ friend-of-the-court briefs because today the court has chosen to hear the Colorado case of Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. This is the discrimination case in which the cakeshop owner refused to make a cake for a wedding reception of two men who were flying the MA to marry and returning to CO for the reception and celebration with friends. The baker's reason was that he had a deeply held religious objection to make a cake for folks involved in a same-sex wedding. He lost in CO state courts on every level for violating the CO anti-discrimination law and has appealed to the USSC. His case will likely be heard this fall when the Court resumes session.

In good news regarding GLBTQ discrimination, the court ruled today in favor of a married lesbian couple and against the state of AR in a court ruling that claimed that the women needed a court order to list both women as the parents of their child on the birth certificate. The women had appealed the AR case to the USSC under the grounds that AR was discriminating against them by it's state court decisions. The Supreme Court's ruling in favor of the women was unsigned.

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