A new survey finds that Americans continue to oppose the idea that small-business owners should be able to refuse products or services to gay or lesbian people due to their religious beliefs.
The survey by the Public Religion Research Institute follows up on findings released last week that show strong majorities within all religious groups also support nondiscrimination policies for LGBT Americans.
The findings, which are consistent with earlier opinion, suggest that last year’s U.S. Supreme Court decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission had little effect on notions about so-called service refusals. In that highly publicized case, the justices ruled that a Colorado baker had the right to refuse to bake a cake for a gay couple based on his personal religious objections.
PRRI’s latest release shows that about 57 percent of Americans opposed allowing small-business owners to refuse services to LGBT people if it would violate their religious beliefs, a modest but statistically insignificant decrease from 2016, when 61 percent said they opposed service refusals, and 2017, when 60 percent said they opposed them.
“The support we’ve seen on these questions has been pretty stable,” said PRRI Senior Research Associate Maxine Najle. “The general public has been fairly supportive of LGBT issues for a while now. The differences are within the margin of error.”
As in the past, majorities of most major religious groups broadly oppose religiously based service refusals, including 54 percent of white mainline Protestants, 66 percent of black Protestants, 52 percent of Hispanic Protestants and 55 percent of white Catholics.
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Source: Religion News Service