Broad cross-section of Americans want discrimination banned among federal contractors
WASHINGTON – The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, today released results of a poll that shows overwhelming support for an Executive Order to ban federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. 73 percent of 2012 likely voters favor such an order and support remains strong regardless of age, race, education, political ideology, and a number of other demographics.
“Americans recognize that discrimination is bad for business and they want our government to take action,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “An executive order is the best step we can take right now to ensure that what matters is how you do your job, not who you are.”
When asked: “As you may know, under current federal law and in many states, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people are NOT protected from discrimination in the work place. Would you support or oppose a policy that required companies that do business with the federal government to not discriminate against gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender people in employment?” 73 percent said they supported the policy, 9 percent opposed the policy and 9 percent were unsure.
One striking result of the poll is the strength of support for an Executive Order (EO) across usually divergent demographic groups. Liberals support the EO at 90 percent; moderates at 77 percent and even conservatives at 60 percent. Democrats support the EO at 86 percent; independents at 70 percent and Republicans at 61 percent. There is no significant distinction by age group (18-29 year olds, 69 percent support; 30-49 year olds, 79 percent support; 40-49 year olds, 75 percent support; 50-64 year olds, 70 percent support; and 65+ year olds, 73 percent support) or by level of education (College educated likely voters support at 73 percent and non-college educated likely voters at 73 percent). White likely voters support the EO at 72 percent with Black voters at 80 percent and Hispanic voters at 72 percent. Broken down by religion, protestant support is at 68 percent, Catholic support at 77 percent, and born again Christian support at 64 percent. Where voters live also does not play a factor with 76 percent of big city likely voters supporting the EO, 73 percent of rural voters supporting and 76 percent of suburban voters supporting.
“It’s not often that an issue is supported by everyone from born again Christians to liberals to rural residents to Catholics,” said Solmonese. “It goes to show the tremendous popularity of this common-sense step.”
Under a standing Executive Order from the Johnson administration, government contractors are barred from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. HRC first proposed that the administration add sexual orientation and gender identity to that list in our “Blueprint for Positive Change” – a series of policy recommendations we presented to the Obama administration shortly after the election in November 2008. As part of a coalition advocating for this order, HRC has met with officials across the administration including at the White House to advocate the President take this important step.
The poll shows that voters are unaware that current federal law does not prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation with 87 percent believing that kind of discrimination to be illegal and only 5 percent correctly knowing that it remains legal.
Policies of non-discrimination are among the best practices of Corporate America. HRC’s Corporate Equality Index reveals 86 percent of Fortune 500 companies have their own policies against sexual orientation non-discrimination and nearly half cover gender identity. Just a decade ago, 61 percent had sexual orientation policies and only three percent covered gender identity.
The national survey of 800 likely voters was conducted for HRC by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research from November 9 – 13, 2011. It has a margin of error of +/- 3.46 percentage points.
More on the proposed Executive Order at: http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/an-important-step-toward-workplace-equality-an-executive-order-on-federal-c
The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
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