Americans Believe in a Basic LGBT Right That Most States Don’t Have

A new poll looks beyond same-sex marriage to find that nearly three-quarters of Americans agree on this fundamental right.
(Photo: Douglas Graham/Getty Images)
Apr 19, 2015· 0 MIN READ
Jamilah King is a TakePart staff writer covering the intersection of race/ethnicity, poverty, gender, and sexuality.

Same-sex marriage remains the leading topic of America’s political discussion about the LGBT community, and for good reason. The Supreme Court is set to hear four cases later this month that will determine whether same-sex couples in all 50 states have the right to marry, something most Americans already support. But there’s new evidence that Americans want more than marriage rights for LGBT people. A Bloomberg News poll released this week found that 74 percent of Americans believe sexual orientation deserves the same federal antidiscrimination protections as race.

“Gay people and people of color are going through the same fight to be accepted,” Brandi Jackson, a 31-year-old black woman from Baltimore, told pollsters. “It doesn’t matter your race, your orientation. Everybody should be treated fairly.”

While the poll, which asked about 1,000 Americans about their views earlier this month, doesn’t specifically mention antidiscrimination laws, it’s implied in the question: In general, do you think sexual orientation should or should not be protected from discrimination the same way race is protected? Currently, 29 states prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, and 32 outlaw discrimination based on gender identity.

Utah seems poised to pass a controversial antidiscrimination law, though it allows religious groups to opt out.