Majority in Favor of Anti-Discrimination Legislation

June 13, 2001 ( The majority of respondents to a recent poll favor the creation of federal legislation prohibiting job discrimination against homosexuals. Forty-two percent of survey participants believe that legislation prohibiting such discrimination already exists.

The Harris Poll, a nationwide study of 2,692 adults surveyed in May, also came to the conclusion that adults who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) are overwhelmingly supportive of anti-discrimination legislation and more likely to know that no such law exists (47%).

Since support for a proposal can vary depending on question wording, the survey posed three variations of the question, with one-third of the sample answering each question:

  • the first version asked about support or opposition to a federal law prohibiting job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation
  • the second version introduced a potential consequence to not having such a law
  • the third described the law in more detail.

In all three categories, roughly 60% supported federal legislation to ban employment discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.

Interestingly, the question that generated the strongest opposition to such legislation included the words “gays and lesbians” in place of “sexual orientation.” 

Even so, 58% to 29%, depending on the question, support anti-discrimination legislation.