A new report from the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) shows that roughly two-thirds of Georgians support laws that would bar LGBT discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodation. Additionally, most Georgians oppose laws that would allow small businesses and others to discriminate.
In “A Profile of Georgia Residents’ Attitudes on LGBT Issues,” PRRI compiles findings from the 2015 American Values Atlas that show strong majorities of Georgians, regardless of their politics, religious affiliation, race or other characteristics, want to see their LGBT friends, neighbors and coworkers protected from discrimination.
This support is especially pronounced among young Georgians: 78% of Georgians under 30 support nondiscrimination protections and 64% of young Georgians (18-29) oppose religious exemptions for small businesses.
Support for non-discrimination protections cuts across the urban and rural divide. In metro Atlanta—the only city in the state with a local non-discrimination ordinance—72% of people support non-discrimination laws. Even more significantly, a majority of people outside of Atlanta (59%) also support non-discrimination laws. Even in areas without non-discrimination ordinances, most people agree that discrimination is wrong, and the law should reflect that.
Support for discrimination protections cuts across political lines too, with most Democrats, Republicans and independents who were surveyed saying they favor non-discrimination protections. From the report:
Nondiscrimination laws that protect LGBT individuals enjoy bipartisan agreement in Georgia. Roughly three-quarters of Democrats (74%), about two-thirds (68%) of independents, and nearly six in ten (59%) Republicans favor nondiscrimination laws for LGBT people.
Fringe lawmakers who oppose non-discrimination laws claim they’re working to protect faith communities—but the communities themselves feel no need for such protection, and in fact strongly support protecting LGBT Georgians from discrimination. Nearly three-quarters of Catholic Georgians (73%) support nondiscrimination laws for LGBT people, as do two-thirds of white Protestants (67%) and black Protestants (65%), and a majority of evangelical Protestants (54%). Approximately two-thirds of black Protestants (66%) and Catholics (63%) oppose allowing businesses to discriminate, as do 53% of white protestants.
These numbers show that although many conservative lawmakers in Georgia remain opposed to non-discrimination laws, vast majorities of their most active constituent groups want to see LGBT Georgians protected from discrimination.
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