New Polling: Majority of Texans Oppose Discrimination Against LGBT People

by Dan Quinn

Just a day after the Senate State Affairs Committee advanced legislation allowing licensed professionals to use religion to justify discrimination against LGBT people, new polling shows that a majority of Texans oppose such laws. Check out our press release.

NEW POLLING: MAJORITY OF TEXANS OPPOSE DISCRIMINATION AGAINST LGBT PEOPLE

Lawmakers Behind Religious Exemption Bills Are Out of Step with Texans

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 26, 2019

AUSTIN – The day after a Senate committee approved a sweeping anti-LGBT discrimination bill, SB17, Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller pointed to new polling that shows a majority of Texans oppose such laws.

“It’s heartening but not surprising that the majority of Texans reject using religion as a weapon to hurt people and discriminate,” Miller said. “But what’s especially striking here is how overwhelmingly a rising generation of younger, increasingly diverse Texans opposes religion-based discrimination against LGBT people. Legislators who pander to their narrow base by supporting these discrimination bills do so at their own electoral risk.”

Texas data in the Public Religion Research Institute’s American Values Atlas 2018 is available here. The report, released today, shows that by a margin of 54-39 percent, a majority of Texans oppose religious exemption laws, which allow businesses to refuse to provide products or services to LGBT people for religious reasons. At a Capitol briefing this morning, PRRI released more detail about the Texas numbers, including:

  • Younger Texans are most likely to reject religious exemption laws, with opposition at 62-33 percent among those ages 18-29 and 57-37 percent among the 30-49 age group. In contrast, Texans ages 50-64 support these laws by a slim margin, 48-44 percent. A plurality of Texans over 65 opposes them, 48-42 percent.
  • Opposition to religious exemptions ranges from 50-45 percent among white Texans to 63-30 percent among black Texans and 58-33 percent among Latino Texans.
  • White, black and Latino mainline Protestants as well as Latino Catholics and religiously unaffiliated also reject such laws. White Catholics are split, 47-47 percent.
  • A majority of urban and suburban Texans – 56 percent and 53 percent, respectively – opposes religious exemptions. A plurality of rural Texans, by a 48-43 margin, also opposes them.
  • Majority support for religious exemptions comes primarily from Republicans (62-33 percent) and white evangelical Protestants (60-36 percent). Strong majorities of Democrats and independents oppose them.
  • More broadly, 66 percent of Texans support laws that would protect LGBT people from discrimination in jobs, public accommodations and housing. Support for nondiscrimination laws is again strong among young Texans but stretches across demographic, religious and partisan lines and even commands majority support in rural areas.

On Monday the Senate State Affairs Committee approved SB17, which would bar agencies from taking action if state-licensed professionals use religion as a license to discriminate against LGBT Texans.

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The Texas Freedom Network is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization building an informed and effective movement for equality and social justice.

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Texas Civil Rights Project

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