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Polls: Support grows for workplace protections, marriage equality in Calif.

Polls: Support grows for workplace protections, marriage equality in Calif.

Support for same-sex marriage has reached a record high in California, while a majority of voters support laws to prohibit anti-gay discrimination, according to various state and national polls released this week.

According to a national poll conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute, 73 percent of Americans favor laws that would protect gay and lesbian people from employment discrimination, versus the 22 percent who are opposed.

Majorities of every major religious group favor employment discrimination protections for gay and lesbian people, including white evangelical Protestants (59%), minority Protestants (61%), white mainline Protestants (75%), Catholics (76%), and religiously unaffiliated Americans (84%).

That same poll found a slim majority (52 percent) of Americans support allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry legally, while 43 percent remain are opposed.


A similar poll in Virginia found that 80 percent of voters in the state think employers should not be able to discriminate against employees based on their sexual orientation, compared to only 12 percent who think doing so is acceptable.

The Virginia poll, conducted by Public Policy Polling, found 94 percent of Democrats opposed workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation, compared to 76 percent of independents, and 71 percent of Republicans.

Recently, U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, said that the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) “will move this year” in the Senate.

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ENDA would prohibit discrimination in hiring and employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity by civilian, nonreligious employers with at least 15 employees.

The measure has been introduced in every Congress since 1994 (except the 109th). Similar legislation has been introduced without passage since 1974.


With the U.S. Supreme Court expected to rule in June on California’s 2008 voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage, support for marriage equality in California has now reached a record high (56 percent in favor, 38 percent opposed, according to the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California.

Support is similar today among adults nationwide in a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll (55 percent support, 40 percent oppose).

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