Americans really don’t like businesses refusing to serve gay customers

There's just one exception.


Eric Geller


Published Apr 27, 2015   Updated May 28, 2021, 11:39 pm CDT

A new poll further discredits claims that religious conservatives should be allowed to discriminate against gay and lesbian Americans.

Quinnipiac University has released data showing that the vast majority of Americans (69 percent) oppose allowing businesses to refuse service to gay people. Only 26 percent of respondents said such discrimination should be legal. Even 50 percent of Republicans opposed it.

Support for same-sex marriage itself stood at 58 percent in the poll. Only Republicans continue to oppose same-sex marriage, with 59 percent against it and 33 percent in favor.

When asked whether businesses should be allowed to refuse service to gay people if serving them violated the owners’ religious beliefs, the general opposition to such refusal dropped from 69 percent to 58 percent.

In this version of the question, 56 percent of Republicans said business owners should be allowed to refuse service to gays and lesbians.

The Quinnipiac poll’s only shortcoming is that it did not ask respondents whether they supported limited exceptions to bans on refusing service to gay people. The incident that sparked the recent focus on such refusals of service was an Indiana pizza parlor that refused to cater a gay wedding. Its owners argued that this was not a refusal of service, since they would still serve gay customers who came into their shop to sit down and eat.

The poll was based on six days of surveys in mid-April with around 1,400 respondents.

Photo via Benson Kua/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)

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*First Published: Apr 27, 2015, 1:57 pm CDT