by Sharon Zhang
The majority of voters disagree with the outcome of the Supreme Court’s latest anti-LGBTQ ruling allowing businesses to discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation, new polling finds.
According to a survey from Data for Progress released this week, 65 percent of likely voters say that businesses should not be allowed to deny services to people based on their race, religion, disability or sexual orientation. This includes 84 percent of Democrats and 66 percent of independents, as well as a plurality of Republicans, at 48 percent.
The poll’s results show the unpopularity of the Supreme Court’s decision in 303 Creative v. Elenis last week, in which the Court’s conservative majority ruled in favor of a website designer’s entirely hypothetical argument that being forced to create a wedding website for a gay couple — something it appears she has never been asked to do — would constitute a violation of her First Amendment rights.
The decision is a major blow to the rights of LGBTQ people, who will now be open to discrimination from businesses that do any sort of creative work — discrimination that is, according to the far right Supreme Court, a right granted to business owners under the Constitution.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor noted in her dissent that it is the first time the Supreme Court has ruled that “a business open to the public [has] a constitutional right to refuse to serve members of a protected class.” LGBTQ advocates have spoken out against the ruling, raising alarm that the decision will usher in more forms of discrimination against LGBTQ people and, potentially, other marginalized populations.
The poll also found that granting rights to business owners should not be prioritized over the rights of people, despite the Supreme Court’s apparent view. Sixty-four percent of respondents said that the right of individuals to be served regardless of their race, religion, disability or sexual orientation should be prioritized over the right of business owners to refuse service.
This also held true when voters were asked specifically about their views on LGBTQ rights. A majority of respondents (52 percent) said that they disagree that business owners should be allowed to refuse services for same-sex marriages in particular, with 38 percent saying they “strongly” disagree.
This includes a strong majority of Democrats, at 76 percent, and 50 percent of independents. Only 30 percent of Republicans said they disagree with the statement — perhaps because of the right’s increasing attacks on the LGBTQ community.
Other polls have found that the GOP’s current attacks on LGBTQ rights are unpopular. Researchers have found that Republicans’ focus on attacking trans people and eroding LGBTQ rights could backfire as an electoral strategy. In March, Data for Progress found that 64 percent of voters say there is “too much” legislation targeting the rights of trans and gay people, while a Grinnell College poll found that nearly 60 percent of people believe bans on books discussing gender or sexual orientation are wrong.
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