Recent polling data makes it clear that successful candidates – from the White House to the state house – will be those whose campaigns reflect the reality that more and more Republicans and Independents are supporting LGBT inclusive policies. Standing up against discrimination is consistent with the conservative values of individual freedom and working hard to care for your family. Increasingly, conservatives are leading this conversation, highlighting the importance of treating all Americans equally under the law. A person should be judged by how well they do their job – nothing more, nothing less.
While some say non-discrimination laws aren’t necessary, research shows gay and transgender people experience discrimination each and every day. A 2015 study found that 63 percent of LGBT Americans have experienced some form of discrimination.
Our recent polling found that 80% of voters think it’s already against federal law to discriminate against LGBT Americans. Unfortunately, that’s not the case as it remains legal to discriminate against gay and transgender Americans in 32 states. And, there’s no federal law banning such discrimination.
Our polling shows the vast majority of Americans believe gay and transgender people should not face discrimination when it comes to earning a living, having a job, or being served by a business. Project Right Side’s most recent national poll shows that 75% of Americans (and 57% of Republicans) support federal legislation to protect LGBT Americans from workplace discrimination. (Just Win poll from 7/18/16).
These policies should balance individual freedom and religious liberty. Our most recent survey found that 84% of Americans believe a middle ground should be found to respect people’s deeply held religious beliefs while ensuring gay and transgender Americans can earn a living, have fair access to housing and public places.
Non-Discrimination in the Workplace
Non-discrimination policies that cover LGBT Americans already exist in America’s armed forces, the majority of Fortune 500 companies, in 18 states and hundreds of local municipalities. These laws work and have helped create diverse, productive workplaces that are competitive in a global marketplace.
To attract talented workers, spur entrepreneurial innovation, recruit investment, and build a thriving travel and tourism industry, every state needs to welcome all people and treat everyone fairly.
In late 2013, ten GOP lawmakers helped pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) in the US Senate. Senators Ayotte (NH), Collins (ME), Flake (AZ), Hatch (UT), Heller (NV), Kirk (IL), McCain (AZ), Murkowski (AK), Portman (OH), and Toomey (PA) voted for this historic legislation. The bill failed to move out of the House, and now a more comprehensive bill has taken shape to not only prevent workplace discrimination but also protect people against discrimination in housing and public accommodations. Meanwhile at the state level, GOP leaders are stepping forward to push non-discrimination bills across the country in places such as Michigan, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Indiana.
At Project Right Side, we believe the America that conservatives hold dear is a land of opportunity and freedom, where people who work hard and meet their responsibilities have the chance to get ahead.