Bilerico Report

Is the “growing complacency” among non-LGBTQ Americans our greatest threat to full equality?

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A new survey from Harris Poll commissioned by GLAAD suggests that 50% of Americans feel that gay people should “have the same rights as everybody else.”

As The Washington Post‘s Jonathan Capehart reports in his Op-Ed piece “This Is A Looming Danger For Full LGBT Equality,” the poll split respondents into three groups based on their level of “comfort” with seven LGBT-centered situations.

Capehart writes:

These include seeing a same-sex couple holding hands, learning a family member, one’s doctor or child’s teacher is gay and seeing a coworker’s wedding picture. “Allies” were the most comfortable. “Detached supporters” were comfortable depending on the situation. And “resisters” were the least comfortable.

The survey reveals a troubling amount of heterosexual Americans in the three groups represented don’t think the LGBTQ’s community are terrible serious. Roughly a quarter of participants don’t think HIV/AIDS, depression, or acts of violence are much of a priority.

This ambivalence, Capehart writes, is deeply troubling.

The GLAAD/Harris Poll report notes that “roughly a third of non-LGBT Americans profess no strong opinion about important LGBT issues. Interestingly, this ambivalence appears across segments, including allies.”

Capehart writes:

That’s being too polite. The “ambivalent” couldn’t care less whether the LGBT community has influence or the support of politicians. For instance, 38 percent “neither agreed nor disagreed” that the LGBT community “has more influence than any other minority community.” And 37 percent were neither here nor there on whether “most politicians” support policies for the LGBT community.

While marriage equality is officially legal, same-sex couples in 28 states still have no discrimination protections in place — so they can be fired based on who they married.

People who live in the 21 states with “religious freedom” laws still have to face discrimination lazily disguised as moral conviction.

Capehart notes that the only “bright spot” in all of this is the Equality Act that’s currently working its way through Congress; a bill that would revise the 1964 Civil Rights Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity. But, he notes, that bill is as good as dead: Govtrack.us lists it as having “0% of being enacted.”

He writes:

Public pressure is needed to improve that prognosis and thwart the ugly efforts happening at the state level. So, now is not the time for ambivalence. Not from the LGBT community and certainly not from folks who profess to be allies in the continuing fight for equality. Now is not the time to slow down in the quest for full LGBT equality.

h/t: The Washington Po

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