Many faith traditions in the U.S. have a higher percentage of adherents supporting laws to protect LGBGTQ persons from discrimination than the national average, according to a report from the Public Religion Research Institute published March 17.
When asked if they “favor laws that would protect gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people against discrimination in jobs, public accommodations, and housing,” 79% of all U.S. adults say they do. This is an eight-point increase since 2015.
Of the 18 faith groups represented in the survey, 11 had higher rates of support for such laws.
Leading the way were Unitarian Universalists, with 97% favoring such laws, followed by Buddhists, the religiously unaffiliated and “other Catholics of color” (all three at 87%), Jews and Hindus (both at 85%), Latter-day Saints / Mormons (84%), Hispanic Catholics (83%), white mainline Protestants (82%), and white Catholics and adherents of other religions not delineated elsewhere (both at 80%).
The lowest levels of support were among Jehovah’s Witnesses (59%) and white evangelical Protestants (61%), with Muslims and other Protestants of color both 75%, Hispanic Protestants at 71% and Orthodox Christians at 67% support.
All but two religious groups saw an increase in support for such laws from 2015 to 2021, with support among other religions stable at 80% and Orthodox Christian support declining eight percentage points.
A similar pattern emerged when respondents were polled about whether they “oppose allowing a small business owner in your state to refuse to provide products or services to gay or lesbian people, if doing so violates their religious beliefs.”
Ten faith groups outpaced the national average of 66% opposing such service refusals, with one group equaling and seven below the national average.
Unitarian universalists had the highest rate of opposition (82%) to allowing businesses to refuse service to LGBTQ persons, followed by the religiously unaffiliated (79%), other Catholics of color (79%), other religions not delineated elsewhere (78%), Muslims (77%), Jews (76%), Buddhists and Hindus (both at 75%), Hispanic Catholics (74%) and Black Protestants (71%).
Hispanic Protestants (66%) matched the national average, while white Catholics (65%), white mainline Protestants (63%), other Protestants of color (58%), Jehovah’s Witnesses (49%), Latter-day Saints / Mormons (44%), Orthodox Christians (43%) and white evangelical Protestants (38%) were below the national average.
All but three faith groups – Orthodox Christians (down 22%), Jehovah’s Witnesses (down 2%) and Unitarian Universalists (down 1%) – saw an increase in opposition to such service refusals from 2015 to 2021, with white evangelical Protestant opposition unchanged.