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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Support for LGBTQ protections declines in US – poll

A new survey has suggested that public backing for anti-discrimination measures has decreased for the first time since 2015

US public support for LGBTQ anti-discrimination laws has declined for the first time since 2015 despite a surge in the number of Americans identifying as something other than heterosexual, a new poll has indicated.

The Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) survey, released on Tuesday, showed that 67% of US adults back same-sex marriage rights, down from 69% in 2022. At the same time, support for protecting LGBTQ Americans against housing and employment discrimination dropped to 76% from 80%, and opposition to allowing businesses to refuse service based on religious beliefs slid to 60% from 65%.

Although Americans of all political stripes and most religious faiths continue to largely favor LGBTQ protections, the drop in support could be a “warning sign,” PRRI CEO Melissa Deckman told The Guardian“This is really the first time we’ve seen a decline in support,” she said. The poll “reminds us that you can’t expect hard-fought rights for some Americans to continue going up in perpetuity,” she added.

Just 59% of Republicans support anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ Americans, compared with 89% of Democrats, the poll showed. Republican backing for such laws fell from 66% in 2022 and was even lower than the 61% level reached in 2015.

Conservative politicians have pushed back against LGBTQ activism and sex-change procedures for minors. Nineteen Republican-controlled states have enacted restrictions on puberty blockers and sex-change surgeries. Several states have tried to ban drag performances for children, and local school districts in such states as Texas, Tennessee and Florida have removed LGBTQ-themed books from their libraries.

Major corporations, such as retailer Target and Bud Light beermaker Anheuser-Busch, have faced consumer backlash over their LGBTQ-themed promotions.

Public backing for LGBTQ causes has slipped even as rapidly increasing numbers of Americans identify themselves as LGBTQ. The LGBTQ population has more than doubled since 2016, to 10% from 4%, PRRI said. LGBTQ identification is so high among adults aged 29 and younger, at 22%, that the group accounts for 44% of the nation’s LGBTQ population, more than double its 19% share of the overall populace.

PRRI also found sharp geographic, political and religious disparities. For instance, 16% of survey respondents from New Mexico identify as LGBTQ, compared with only 4% in Alabama and South Carolina. While 58% of LGBTQ Americans consider themselves to be politically liberal, 13% say they are conservative. Over half (52%) of LGBTQ respondents identify as religiously unaffiliated, versus 27% of the overall population.