November 17, 2017
A new opinion poll from the Small Business Majority—a national advocacy organization—has found that 65% of entrepreneurs strongly believe business owners should not be able to deny goods and services to LGBT customers based on their religious beliefs or because of their right to free speech or free artistic expression—and that nondiscrimination policies are good for their state’s business climate and their own business’s bottom line.
The poll was released on November 1, just as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments in the Masterpiece Cakeshop vs. Colorado Civil Rights Commission case, addressing the rights of business owners to deny services to LGBT individuals.
Conducted on behalf of Small Business Majority by Chesapeake Beach Consulting from October 4 through October 23, the poll found that 50% of small business owners believe that business owners should not be able to deny goods or service to someone who is LGBT based on the claim that service violates their right to free speech; compared to just 34% of respondents, who said a business owner should be allowed to deny services for this reason.
Similarly, 55% of small business owners don’t believe that a business owner should be able to claim an exemption to nondiscrimination laws, if they believe serving a customer goes against their right to free artistic expression.
Additionally, a majority of small business owners (55%) agree that nondiscrimination laws improve the business bottom line by attracting the best and brightest employees, regardless of whether the employee is gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.
Finally, 59% of respondents said that denying services to LGBT clients via statewide or national legislation would hurt the business climate in their own states.
Research contact: Simon Brown (202-535-3229)