A new poll shows that a majority of Hoosiers are ready to enact laws statewide that would protect LGBT Hoosiers from being discriminated against in public places, a move that would boost our state’s economy.
The poll, which was conducted by the Princeton Survey Research Associates International (PRSAI) on behalf of Ball State University, shows that that nearly three-fifths of respondents—58.5%—would support amending Indiana’s Civil Rights Act to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Only a third of respondents—31.6%—were opposed.
This is a dramatic increase of nearly 8 percentage points since the issue was last polled, in December 2015 by the IndyStar. That poll found that a smaller majority of 50.2% supported such an amendment, while 35.1% opposed.
This poll makes it clear that a majority of Hoosiers believe what the 500+ large and small businesses who are part of the Indiana Competes coalition believe, namely that:
“Treating everyone equally will make our state a better place to for us all to live and work. As the election cycle comes to end, and lawmakers consider their agenda for 2017, we hope this poll will serve as a reminder that the majority Hoosiers oppose discrimination.”
This poll is also a clear repudiation of Indiana’s so-called “religious refusal” law—which allows businesses and other organizations to discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals in housing, employment and public services—as well as any further legislative attempts to enact LGBT discrimination into state law.
Nearly all of Indiana’s most successful businesses have policies and workplace cultures which are inclusive and welcoming to all employees and customers, because they realize that inclusiveness is the path to success and economic prosperity.
Last year’s fight over discriminatory legislation is case in point. Religious refusal legislation has already cost our state millions of dollars in economic investment and thousands of jobs. We also saw our national reputation as a welcoming state known for its “Hoosier Hospitality plummet in the wake of the law’s passage.
It’s clear that discrimination is not the way forward for Indiana, and that it is well past time for comprehensive LGBT nondiscrimination legislation to be enacted statewide. Indiana’s business community is counting on it.