A majority of U.S. adults across age, gender, political and religious demographics support the enactment of nondiscrimination laws to protect LGBTQ persons, according to a Public Religion Research Institute report published March 23.
Overall, 76% of all respondents said they support “laws that would protect gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people against discrimination in jobs, public accommodations and housing.”
While notable differences existed in levels of support across demographic groups, a majority in all such groupings were in favor of such legislation.
Among religious groupings, support was highest among white mainline Protestants and the religiously unaffiliated (both at 82%), followed by Hispanic Catholics (81%), Jews (79%) and Mormons (78%).
White evangelical Protestants had the lowest level of support (62%), six points below Hispanic Protestants (68%). For all other religious groups, 72% or more favored the passage of such laws.
“The largest increase in support for LGBT nondiscrimination protections among religious groups since 2019 is among other Protestants of color (from 59% to 72%),” the report said.
“Support has also increased among white mainline Protestants (from 74% to 82%), Hispanic Catholics (from 75% to 81%), religiously unaffiliated Americans (from 78% to 82%) and white Catholics (from 74% to 77%). Other groups have not shifted significantly.”
Respondents under 50 were much more likely than those over 50 to favor such laws, with 69% of all adults over 50 supporting such legislation compared to 82% of those under 50 doing so. This age gap was seen across all demographic groups, including religious affiliation.
For example, 73% of white evangelical Protestants under 50 support such protections, compared to 56% of those over 50 – a 17-point difference. Similarly, there is a 19-point gap between the 80% of Protestants of color under 50 who favor such laws and the 61% of those over 50.
Support for those who cite religious objections to decline serving gay or lesbian people has dropped to 2017 levels, with only 33% of all respondents doing so in 2020. This is down from 37% in 2019, the highest total since polling on this question began in 2015.
From 2016 to 2019, support for such refusals had increased seven points from a low of 30% support in 2016 before declining in 2020.
“White evangelical Protestants (46%) are the only religious group in which less than a majority opposes allowing small businesses to refuse service to gay and lesbian people on religious grounds,” the report said.
“Majorities of white Catholics (60%) and white mainline Protestants (59%) oppose such refusals, as do 54% of Hispanic Protestants, 56% of Protestants who are multiracial or another race, and 70% of Black Protestants.”