A majority of Evangelical Christians have thrown support behind the Equality Act.
This past week, House Democrats introduced the Equality Act for the third time. This time around, the bill received bipartisan support. A record 201 Congress members co-sponsored the legislation to prohibit anti-LGBTI discrimination across the United States.
The most surprising supporters of the bill: white Evangelical Christians.
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According to the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), a whopping 54% of Evangelicals are in favor of protections on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation in housing and employment.
The country’s most conservative religious group support proposals like the Equality Act by a 16-point margin. Just 38% of Evangelicals surveyed oppose the kinds of protections the Equality Act would offer.
The PRRI’s survey also showed that most major religious groups in the country now overwhelmingly support LGBTI-inclusive nondiscrimination laws. 53% of Jehovah’s Witnesses support these protections. Similarly, 70% of Mormons, 68% of non-white Catholics, 65% of African American Protestants, 60% of Muslims, and 59% of Orthodox Christians support measures like the Equality Act.
Overall, about 70% of Americans believe anti-LGBTI discrimination should be illegal.
Even before the reintroduction of the Equality Act, two major Evangelical groups came out in support of inclusive federal nondiscrimination laws. These groups are the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) and National Association of Evangelicals.
Still, within religious communities, there is divide on how LGBTI people should be treated. For instance, a 2018 study found that just a quarter of white Evangelical seniors were in favor of same-sex marriage. Meanwhile, 53% of young Evangelical Protestants believe all people should have the right to marry.
Similarly, a 2017 survey by PRRI found that most Evangelicals support laws allowing people of faith to deny service to LGBTI people. 65% of this group were in favor of wedding-based businesses like bakers, photographers, and florists having the ability to deny LGBTI couples. Only 29% of Evangelicals surveyed were against licenses to discriminate on religious grounds.
However, this divide is mainly in white Protestant circles. 73% of Hispanic Catholics, 56% of black Protestants, and 55% of white Catholics believe people of faith shouldn’t have the right to turn away LGBTI people.
The future of the Equality Act
Despite overwhelming support in the House of Representatives for the reintroduction of the Equality Act, there is doubt that it will pass. This is due to the Republican-controlled Senate and Donald Trump’s White House.