Poll: Orientation should be a protected class
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Seventy-four percent of Americans believe that sexual orientation deserves the same constitutional protection from discrimination as race, according to a Bloomberg Politics poll released Friday.

Only 18 percent of Americans believe that federal law should not treat discrimination over sexual orientation and race equally, according to the survey, which also found majorities calling for ObamaCare to get more time to be enacted and predicting that marijuana will be legal nationwide in two decades.


Federal law designates a number of “protected classes,” which constitute groups that are shielded from discrimination. Specific protection for race stems from the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Federal law also protects age, disability, sex, national origin, pregnancy, religion, veteran status and genetic information.

The poll's findings follow weeks of heated debate over Religious Freedom Restoration Acts in Indiana and other states. Defenders say those measures were intended to protect individuals and businesses from government intrusions on their religious beliefs, but critics charged the measures sanctioned discrimination against gays and lesbians if that discrimination was based on faith.

Republican Govs. Mike Pence (Ind.) and Asa Hutchinson (Ark.) asked lawmakers to clarify that the bills wouldn't prompt discrimination. But Pence balked at the idea of adding sexual orientation to the list of protected classes in the state.

Fifty-one percent of Americans believe gay marriage will be the law of the land within the next five to 10 years. Only 7 percent believe it will be legalized this year.  The Supreme Court could rule in June on whether states have the right to ban gay marriage.

The poll also addressed a number of other topics, including ObamaCare and marijuana legalization.

A slight majority of American adults believe ObamaCare may need “small modifications,” but that it needs more time before they can determine its effectiveness. Thirty-five percent want the law repealed and 12 percent believe it should be left alone.

The calls for repeal are deeply partisan. Almost 70 percent of Republicans wanted to gut the law, compared to just 10 percent of Democrats.

Without veto-proof majorities in Congress, Republicans are unlikely to successfully repeal ObamaCare. But the Supreme Court case King v. Burwell, which was argued in March, could have an outsized effect on the future of the law. The case questions the constitutionality of federally run healthcare exchanges in states that did not accept calls to create their own.

Some experts believe that the law could collapse if those exchanges are ruled unconstitutional.

While 58 percent in the poll believe that marijuana will be legal in all states within the next 20 years, 32 percent think it will never be legal.

Pot is legal now in three states: Colorado, Washington and Alaska, with legalization in Oregon set to take effect in July.

D.C. also legalized recreational marijuana in the 2014 election, but has been battling with Congress over the implementation of the law. Congress included a rider in a spending bill that stopped D.C. from spending money on implementing its legalization, but Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) has gone ahead with legalizing the drug.

Rep. Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzFormer chairman appears at House Oversight contempt debate Republicans spend more than million at Trump properties House Dems seek to make officials feel the pain MORE (R-Utah), the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, warned Bowser in a letter in February that she could “go to prison” for what he sees as disobeying Congress.