Ending employment discrimination
based on sexual orientation
Public opinion polls: 1995-2001
Support for employment protection based on sexual
Polls have consistently shown that American adults support equal employment protection
for persons of all sexual orientations, from the mid 1990s to now:
|1995: A poll by Newsweek magazine taken among actual voters
showed that 84% supported equal rights for gays and lesbians in the workplace.|
|1996-MAY: A Newsweek poll showed that 84% of American adults supported
equal protections in employment for gays and lesbians.|
|1996-JUN: An American public opinion poll was taken in by ICR Survey
Research Group of Media, PA. The margin of error is ±3 percentage points.|
|Overall results: 57% opposed; 30% in favor|
|Females responded: 49% opposed|
|Persons under 35: 47% opposed; 47% in favor|
|Equal job opportunities: 10% opposed; 85% in favor (vs. 16 to 76% in 1992)|
|Exclude gays totally from the military: 15% in favor of a ban|
|Allow openly gay or lesbian persons into the military 37% opposed; 40% in favor.|
|1996-JUN: A poll by the Associated Press showed that 85% of adults are
in favor of federal legislation to give equal protection in employment to gays and
|1996-NOV: Greenberg Research Inc. conducted a national survey of
1,007 voters at election time on 1996-NOV-5 to 8. They found that:
|Among Christians generally, 70% believe that gays and lesbians should be protected from
discrimination in the workplace; 23% do not.|
|Among fundamentalist and other evangelical Christians, 60% are in favor
of protection while 34% do not.|
The poll's margin of error is ?3.1 percentage points.
|1997-APR: A public opinion poll was conducted during 1997-APR 8 to 10
by the Tarrance Group and Lake Sosin Snell & Associates. They asked
American adults whether they supported a Federal law to "prevent job
discrimination against gays and lesbians." Results showed that ENDA has 68%
support nationally, 77% in the Northeast, 71% in the Midwest, 68% in the West, and 62% in
the South. It is supported by 79% of Democrats, 69% of independents, and 59% of
Republicans. Only about 15% of adults are "strongly opposed."|
|1997-OCT: Oliver Thomas of the National Council of Churches
and Herbert Valentine of the Presbyterian Church (USA) were scheduled to
talk in support of ENDA before the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee. A
procedural move prevented them from being heard. Will Dodson, director of public policy
for the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
said that he:|
"walked away from the hearing both sad and angry...I walked away angry because there were actually church
leaders who were there to support the bill. As Christians, our response to this issue
should be to love the sinner and hate the sin. It is infuriating to hear church leaders
suggest that we are showing love for the sinner by accepting his sinful behavior.
Christians ought to be helping them to escape a sinful, harmful lifestyle. I can
understand how those without Christ would defend their lifestyle. However, it is
inexcusable that Christians would defend lifestyles which are contrary to Scripture."
Dodson appears to have been misinformed. Thomas and Valentine were not at
the Senate committee to promote, accept or defend homosexuals. They were
trying to give them job security.
Many large companies
have gone on record as supporting ENDA.
Winnie Stachelberg, legislative director of the Human Rights Campaign said
"Employment protections [for lesbian and gay workers] have really
emerged as a mainstream, bipartisan issue."
In 1996-SEP, Matt Coles, director of the Lesbian and Gay Rights
Project of the American Civil Liberties Union" stated:
"We are on the verge of passing legislation that will finally
ensure fairness for all American workers, regardless of sexual
orientation...While we have a lot of work ahead of us in the coming days,
the momentum is clearly on our side."
He was wrong. The federal government continued to lag far behind public
opinion throughout the 1990s and 2000s.
References used in the above essay:
The following information source
was used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlink is not necessarily still active today.
- Tom Strode, "Church leaders endorse ENDA; SBC rep decries their defense"
- "Employment Non-Discrimination Act Quick Facts," Human Rights Campaign, at:
- Rev. Lou Sheldon & Andrea Lafferty "Dear Friend of TVC," Traditional Values
Coalition, 2007-SEP-05, at:
Copyright © 1997 to 2009 by Ontario
Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2009-AUG-07
Author: B.A. Robinson