Who Supports LGBTQ Civil Rights The Most?

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Nondiscrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people are strong among Americans. According to data from the Public Religion Research Institute, every demographic — religious, political, age, etc. — has either maintained or increased its support for LGBTQ rights, with just one exception. While 69% of Americans (overall) support anti-discrimination laws protecting LGBTQ people, support from Republicans has dropped from 61% in 2015 to 56% today.

It’s interesting that the drop is even steeper among young Republicans under 30 whose support for anti-discrimination laws fell from 74% in 2015 to 63% today.

“It was one of the largest and most significant drops that we saw,” [PRRI chief executive Dr. Robert] Jones said.

Understanding this shift would require additional study, he said, but one hypothesis he offered was that the ranks of young Republicans are thinning, with more socially liberal individuals opting to identify as independent. “The Republican Party is becoming more ideologically pure,” he suggested.

White evangelical Protestants (54%) and Jehovah’s Witnesses (53%) are least likely to support LGBT nondiscrimination protections, but even among these groups support remains in majority territory.

The “Unaffiliated” comes in at 78% support while Unitarian/Universalist came in at 90%. The reason for that lies in the fact that the “Unaffiliated” group is composed of three subgroups— atheist, agnostic and nothing in particular. The “nothing in particular” group that falls under that “Unaffiliated” term without being non-theistic are dragging the whole group down. Actually, while 87% of atheists and 88% of agnostics support anti-discrimination laws, the ‘nothing in particular’ group comes in with 74%.

When it comes to the difference in support among different age groups, we can see the following:

Younger Americans are likelier than older Americans to say they support laws protecting LGBT people from various forms of discrimination. More than three-quarters (76%) of younger Americans (ages 18-29) favor such laws, compared to 59% of seniors (ages 65 and older). Support for LGBT nondiscrimination protections has declined slightly among younger Americans, with marginal decreases since 2017 (78%) and 2015 (80%). Support among seniors has remained fairly steady (61% in 2015 and 2017).

Ideological differences largely track partisan differences. Although majorities of liberals (81%), moderates (76%), and conservatives (55%) all favor nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people, support is much higher among liberals. The level of support among conservatives has declined over the past few years, with greater support in 2017 (58%) and in 2015 (60%).

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