AUSTIN, Texas, March 26, 2019 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — A survey released today by PRRI, a non-profit, non-partisan public opinion research organization, finds approximately two-thirds (66 percent) of Texans support nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people. Similar majorities support same-sex marriage (56 percent) and oppose religiously-based refusals to serve gay and lesbian people (54 percent).
The survey of nearly 3,000 Texans is derived from PRRI’s American Values Atlas, which surveys over 40,000 Americans each year to provide a 50-state portrait of American attitudes on critical issues facing the country.
Widespread support among Texans for LGBT nondiscrimination laws
The approximately two-thirds (66 percent) of Texans who support laws protecting LGBT people from discrimination in the workplace, public accommodations, and housing is similar to the 69 percent of Americans who favor them. Support transcends geography, religion, and race across the Lone Star State.
“The broad support for laws to protect LGBT people from discrimination represents a rarity in our polarized politics today—an issue that actually brings people together,” notes PRRI CEO Robert P. Jones. “Support for LGBT nondiscrimination protections spans Texas’ cities and rural areas, and transcends party, race, and religion in the Lone Star State.”
Each of Texas’ five major metropolitan areas shows significant support for nondiscrimination laws: Austin (77 percent), Dallas/Fort Worth (70 percent), El Paso (72 percent), Houston (66 percent), and San Antonio (65 percent). The level of support for nondiscrimination laws is consistent in urban (69 percent) and suburban (69 percent) areas of the state. Support in rural areas is significantly lower but remains in majority territory (53 percent).
Majority support for LGBT nondiscrimination laws crosses racial, ethnic, and religious lines. Around two-thirds of white (66 percent), Hispanic (67 percent), mixed or other race (67 percent), and black (71 percent) Texans support such laws. Likewise, majorities of white (71 percent) and Hispanic (71 percent) Catholics, and black Protestants (71 percent) and even white evangelical Protestants (53 percent), favor nondiscrimination protections, as do 75 percent of religiously unaffiliated Texans.
Notably, support for LGBT nondiscrimination protections also bridges party lines. Majorities of Texas Democrats (80 percent), independents (70 percent), and Republicans (52 percent) favor laws that protect LGBT people from discrimination in jobs, housing, and public accommodations.
Three in four (75 percent) Texans ages 18-29 favor LGBT nondiscrimination protections, together with 55 percent of seniors ages 65 and older. This level of support roughly follows national levels: 76 percent of young Americans and 59 percent of seniors across the U.S. support these protections.
Majorities of most Texas groups oppose religion-based refusals to serve gay and lesbian people
A majority of Texans (54 percent) oppose allowing small business owners in their state to refuse products or services to gay or lesbian people even if they say providing them would violate their religious beliefs. They join a majority of Americans (57 percent) in opposing such policies. Notably, black (63 percent) and Hispanic (58 percent) Texans are more likely than white Texans (50 percent) to oppose religiously-based refusals to serve gay and lesbian people.
White evangelical Protestants are the only Texan religious group in which a majority (60 percent) favors allowing business owners to refuse service to gay and lesbian people on religious grounds. All other major religious subgroups in Texas oppose such refusals. Religiously unaffiliated (68 percent), black Protestants (63 percent), and Hispanic Catholics (58 percent) are the groups most likely to oppose such policies.
Texans are also divided on this issue along political lines. While 73 percent of Democrats and 57 percent of independents oppose religiously-based refusals to serve gay and lesbian people, 62 percent of Texas Republicans support this policy. One in three (33 percent) Texas Republicans oppose service refusals.
Majorities of Texans in each of the state’s major metropolitan areas oppose religiously-based refusals to serve gay and lesbian people: Austin (63 percent), Dallas/Fort Worth (54 percent), El Paso (55 percent), Houston (53 percent), and San Antonio (59 percent). The 56 percent of Texans in urban metropolitan areas who oppose these refusals are joined by 53 percent of suburban and 48 percent of rural Texans.
Widespread Lone Star Support for Same-Sex Marriage
Support for same-sex marriage has continued growing since the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling that established a constitutional right to marry for same-sex couples. More than six in 10 (62 percent) Americans now say gay and lesbian couples should be allowed to marry legally, along with 56 percent of Texans. The increased support for same-sex marriage in Texas over the last four years has been notable: In 2015, 46 percent of Texans supported same-sex marriage, while 45 percent were opposed.
The American Values Atlas (AVA) is a project of PRRI. The survey was designed and conducted by PRRI and was made possible by generous grants from The Nathan Cummings Foundation, The Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, The Gill Foundation, The E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, and the United Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter Rock. Results for the nondiscrimination laws and religiously-based service refusal questions are based on a subset of 40,292 telephone interviews (including 2,780 interviews in Texas) conducted between March 14, 2018 and December 16, 2018. The margin of error for these questions is +/- 0.5 percentage points at the national level (+/- 1.9 percentage points at the Texas level) at the 95 percent level of confidence. Results for the same-sex marriage question are based on a subset of 4,028 telephone interviews (including 267 interviews in Texas) conducted between March 14, 2018 and March 25, 2018 and between June 27, 2018 and July 8, 2018. The margin of error for the same-sex marriage question subsample is +/-1.5 percentage points at the national level (+/- 6.0 points at the Texas level) at the 95 percent level of confidence.
PRRI is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to conducting independent research at the intersection of religion, culture, and public policy.