People rally outside the Supreme Court to urge the court to find Title VII protects LGBTQ people from discrimination – Photo: GLAAD.
Most Americans support protecting LGBTQ people against workplace discrimination, according to a new poll by Marquette University Law School.
It comes as the Supreme Court debates a pair of landmark cases that could have historic implications for the civil rights of the LGBTQ community, as the justices must decide whether LGBTQ individuals are protected against sex-based discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The Trump administration is arguing that it should be legal to fire LGBTQ employees because of their sexuality or gender identity.
In two separate briefs, lawyers for the administration pressed the court to make it legal to fire LGBTQ people nationwide, arguing that — as written — Title VII does not protect against such discrimination.
However, the Trump administration’s stance seems to contradict public opinion, with 61% of respondents telling Marquette they supported “prohibiting employment discrimination…based on sexual orientation of gay, lesbian, or transgender individuals.”
And of those in support, 39% ‘strongly favored’ expanding protections to include LGBTQ people.
The poll, which surveyed over 1,400 people across the country, also dealt a blow to the Trump administration’s support for making it legal to deny service to LGBTQ people.
Asked whether “a business owner’s religious beliefs or free speech rights can justify refusing some services to gay people,” 57% of respondents rejected such discrimination, with 40% strongly opposing it.
One-third of respondents supported allowing businesses to deny service to gay people, while 9% said they “don’t know.”
The poll, which was focused on the Supreme Court, also asked respondents about their support for previous decisions by the nation’s highest court.
It found that a majority — 56% — supported the 2016 decision which legalized marriage equality nationwide. Only 36% opposed it, with 9% responding “don’t know.”
The poll found little support for overturning Roe v. Wade — a major goal for conservatives — with 61% opposing any attempt to remove legal abortion in all 50 states.
A slim majority also opposed any Supreme Court decision that would “strike down” the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, with 52% opposing such a ruling — 38% supported ACA being declared unconstitutional, and 10% said they didn’t know.
The ACA — a frequent target for Republicans and Donald Trump — contains a number of protections for LGBTQ people.
However, last week a federal court struck down part of the health care law which contains nondiscrimination protections for transgender patients, arguing that such protections violate the religious freedom of Christian medical providers.
The Trump administration has previously signaled its intent to roll back LGBTQ health care protections, allowing medical providers and insurers to cite their religious beliefs as justification for denying care.
Marquette’s poll also asked respondents about their overall support for Donald Trump’s presidency.
Sixty percent said that they disapproved of Trump’s job performance, with 46% of those strongly disapproving of the way he’s handled the presidency.
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