Most Americans disagree with ‘religious exemptions’ for businesses

Jack Phillips

FILE - In this March 10, 2014, file photo, Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips decorates a cake inside his store in Lakewood, Colo. Colorado's Supreme Court has refused to take up the case of Phillips, who would not make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, letting stand a lower court's ruling that the Masterpiece Cakeshop owner cannot cite his Christian beliefs in refusing service. The American Civil Liberties Union applauded the Monday, April 25, 2016 development, saying it affirmed that no one should be turned away from a business serving the public because of who they are or who they love. AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File

Most Americans don’t think that businesses should have a religious right to discriminate, a poll found.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted this past week found that 72% of Americans said that business owners should not be allowed to cite their religious beliefs as a justification for refusing LGBTQ customers, while 14% said that they had that right. The remaining 15% said “only in certain circumstances” or that they did not know.

The poll was conducted in the days just before the Supreme Court ruled in favor of a baker who refused to sell a wedding cake to a same-sex couple, citing his religious beliefs.

In a separate question, Reuters/Ipsos asked people if businesses “never have the right to deny services to customers.” 57% of people agreed with that, and 19% believed businesses “always have the right to deny services.”

So while there is a small difference in the percent of the population that thinks it’s OK to refuse service for any reason or just to LGBTQ customers for religious reasons, about 15% of people say “no” to refusing service to LGBTQ people but still think that there are legitimate reasons to sometimes refuse service.

The poll also found that 53% of respondents support marriage equality. A recent Gallup Poll found that 67% of Americans support marriage equality.

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