Analysis: People of Faith in Red States Support LGBTQ Nondiscrimination Protections

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WASHINGTON—According to a new analysis of data from the Public Religion Research Institute, strong majorities of religious Americans support LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections. The analysis includes breakdowns of numbers from a broad spectrum of states including Alaska, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and more. Overall, 69% of people of faith favor or strongly favor passing LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections.

The analysis was released today by Faith for Equality, a coalition of 120+ religious groups that support LGBTQ dignity, and can be accessed here:

“PRRI’s American Values Atlas, which contains interviews with more than 20,000 Americans in all 50 states, reveals a remarkable breadth of support for nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ Americans, noted Robert P. Jones, CEO and Founder of PRRI. “Nationally, strong majorities of every religious group–including 61 percent of white evangelical Protestants–favor laws that would protect gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people against discrimination in jobs, public accommodations, and housing. And majorities in every state, including the deep South, favor LGBTQ nondiscrimination laws.”

A majority of states lack LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections on the state level, leaving more than half of the LGBTQ population in America vulnerable to discrimination. Without a federal law, LGBTQ people remain vulnerable to being evicted from their homes, kicked out of a business that’s open to the public, denied health care, removed from a jury, or denied government services in a majority of states simply because of who they are. With 1 in 3 LGBTQ people having reported experiencing discrimination in their personal lives, a federal nondiscrimination law would guarantee that LGBTQ people are extended the same federal nondiscrimination protections that others in the United States have enjoyed for decades.

“No matter our faith, gender, orientation, race or zip code, we all deserve to live with freedom and dignity. LGBTQ people are made in the image of God and should be free to live, work, worship and exist as their full selves in public without fear of discrimination,” said Jennifer Butler, CEO of Faith in Public Life. “The vast majority of religious Americans share these values and agree that the equality and freedoms of LGBTQ people must be protected. Extremist politicians and Christian nationalists have weaponized religious language to mask their own bigotry and justify policies that attack human dignity. This is bad theology and immoral politics. The Faithful Majority provides a better witness that is true to the shared teachings of our traditions. I urge Congress to honor our values by passing federal nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people in jobs, housing and public accommodations.”

The Equality Act, which would update federal law to include express and enduring nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ Americans in key areas of life, passed the U.S. House in a bipartisan victory just over a year ago and had its first-ever hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee shortly afterwards. President Biden has vowed to sign it into law and just reiterated that commitment in his recent State of the Union.

“Catholics understand the importance of following the Golden Rule, and values like treating others fairly, equally and with respect are rooted in our faith and religious teachings,” said Francis DeBernardo, Executive Director of New Ways Ministry. “This compels us to support protecting all Americans from discrimination. A federal nondiscrimination law would help alleviate the personal suffering of LGBTQ people, provide them equal access to our society’s opportunities, and, in many cases, save lives. We are all God’s children and we all deserve to go about our daily lives without the fear of discrimination.”

“Equality is the civil rights issue of our time. Americans of all faiths and none overwhelmingly recognize that, as a matter of both law and justice, protecting our friends and neighbors from second-class status can wait no longer,” said Rabbi Jack Moline, President of Interfaith Alliance. “LGBTQ+ people deserve safety and celebration now. We can avoid the need for future memorials and retrospectives through swift and commendable action by the Senate and President Biden to pass the Equality Act into law. This is our opportunity to affirm that equal protection under the law applies to every person, regardless of who they love or how they identify, and to finally secure the blessings of liberty for all.”