A new YouGov/Huffington Post survey has found that 69% of Americans wrongly believe it is already illegal to fire someone for being gay or lesbian under US federal law – while another 18% were unsure.
Only 13% of Americans surveyed in the poll knew that gays and lesbians are not protected from discrimination in employment under federal law when asked.
The poll results come as US President Barack Obama prepares to sign an executive order banning government contractors from discriminating against employees or job applicants based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Obama had hoped to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to solve the issue however the bill stalled in the House of Representatives after passing in the Senate in 2013.
The power of executive order allows the US President to send legally binding directions to government branches and agencies where lawmakers fail to act on an issue.
The poll also found 50% of Americans were in favor of job discrimination against gays and lesbians being outlawed. 11% said they were somewhat opposed and 31% said they were strongly opposed while another 8% said they were unsure.