Poll: Majority of Americans support discrimination protections for gay and lesbian people

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

A new poll has found that a majority of Americans support laws banning workplace discrimination against gay and lesbian people.

The poll, released by the Huffington Post and YouGov, found that 52% of Americans said they favoured laws prohibiting the discrimination whilst 35% said they were opposed to the idea.

Younger respondents, and Democrats were more likely than older people and Republicans to support laws protecting against discrimination.

63% of Democrats supported such laws, compared to 28% against, and Republicans were more likely to be opposed, with 47% in favour compared to 39% against.

Respondents aged between 18 and 29 were more likely to back a law against discrimination, with 59% for, including 47% who said they favoured it strongly, compared to 28% opposed.

The poll also found, however, that a majority of Americans thought that such laws already existed across the US, with 65% saying they thought it was already illegal, 20% were unsure and 15% said they thought it was legal.

Republicans were least likely to support such a measure, but most likely to think that it was already law, the poll found.

Federal law in the US currently does not protect people from being sacked from their jobs based on sexual orientation, despite some states and jurisdictions having their own protections.

Earlier in June, US President Barack Obama urged Congress to pass legislation to ban anti-LGBT discrimination in the workplace, saying “I want to sign that bill.”

Referring to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would prohibit workplace discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity by employers, Obama urged Congress to pass it. The bill currently has 52 co-sponsors, with Senator Jay Rockefeller being the latest.

As well as workplace discrimination, the poll also found that a majority of Americans supported laws prohibiting housing discrimination with 48% compared to 42%.