Two-thirds of small businesses say owners should not be allowed to deny lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people goods and services, according to a new poll released Monday.
In an Internet survey of 500 small businesses commissioned by Small Business Majority, 55 percent of Republican and 62 percent of Christian small business owners opposed denying goods or services based on an owner’s religious beliefs.
When asked specifically about wedding-related services, 55 percent said they do not believe a business owner should be allowed to deny services to a same-sex couple based on religious beliefs.
In fact, 59 percent of small business owners responding to the poll said they oppose laws that allow individuals, associations or businesses to legally refuse service to anyone based on religious beliefs.
The poll was conduced between April 16 to April 24 by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research on behalf of the liberal small business advocacy organization, the liberal Center for American Progress, and the conservative American Unity Fund.
The poll found that as many 8 in 10 small business owners were in support of a federal law to protect LGBT individuals against discrimination in public accommodations, such as restaurants, hotels and other businesses that are open to the public.
"From big business to small mom and pop shops, businesses are leading the way in creating an inclusive LGBT community,” Laura Durso, LGBT Research and Communications Project Director at the Center for American Progress, said. “They know you can’t be pro-business and pro-discrimination at the same time.”
Depsite the landmark marriage equality ruling, Durso said many people don’t realize that it is still legal in many states for an LGBT individual to be fired from a job, evicted from an apartment or denied a hotel room based on who they are or who they love.
Small Business Majority, the Center for American Progress and American Unity Fund said they all back Freedom for All Americans, a group which formed to advance nondiscrimination laws at the state and federal level in employment, housing and public accommodations like healthcare and emergency shelters.