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Americans Favor Gay Equality Says New Bipartisan Poll

Support for Anti-Discrimination & Hate Crime Laws on the Rise

Compiled by Badpuppy's GayToday
From HRC Reports

top1119a.gif - 5.61 KWashington, D.C. -- Tolerance for gay and lesbian Americans has sharply increased in the last three years and most people support anti-discrimination laws protecting gay people, according to a Human Rights Campaign poll released Tuesday at a press conference and conducted by top Democratic and Republican pollsters.

The findings reiterated the trend of increased tolerance in this year's elections where voters chose moderation and rejected right-wing extremism.

"American voters rejected the mean-spirited anti-gay positions that have been expressed throughout this election season, and registered their dissatisfaction at the polls. In most cases where the voters had a choice, they picked the moderate pro-gay candidate," said HRC Executive Director Elizabeth Birch at the press conference.

ebirch.gif - 5.61 K Elizabeth Birch "This should be a clear message to the Republican leadership - extreme right candidates no longer make good candidates, and more and more, Republicans are seeking liberation from a Christian Coalition hold on the GOP."

"This poll is consistent with the election results and the voters desire for solutions instead of scapegoats. 90% of HRC endorsed candidates won their races, compared to only 46% of candidates backed by Gary Bauer's ultra-conservative Campaign for Working Families. I think this discrepancy says it all about America's increased tolerance for gay Americans," said HRC Political Director Winnie Stachelberg.

The bipartisan poll, conducted for HRC by the Democratic pollster firm Lake, Snell, Perry, and Associates (Celinda Lake), and Republican pollster firm American Viewpoint, (Linda DiVall), showed that support for gay and lesbian equality was bipartisan and widespread. Among the findings:

A majority of voters, (54%-32%), say that civil rights laws for gays and lesbians are intended to secure "equal rights" instead of "special rights." This number is up from 1995 when the ratio was (41%-38%).

Americans widely believe, (64%-13%), that U.S. society is more tolerant now than it was a decade ago, and over a majority believe that increased tolerance is desirable.

Majorities of Americans, (58%-25%), support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, (56%-23%), and strong support extends across all demographic and partisan subgroups.

Majorities of Americans support certain rights and benefits for gay and lesbian partners, including hospital visitation rights, (71%-24%), inheritance rights, (67%-27%), and health care benefits, (61%-29%).
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HRC Communications Director David M. Smith said: "This increase in tolerance has mistakenly led people to believe that gay people are already covered by anti-discrimination legislation. Our poll reveals that only 14% of people realize that it is still legal to fire gay people in 40 states because of their sexual orientation. Clearly, peoples' attitudes are way ahead of the politicians' and we need to work to clarify this misconception."

This poll surveyed 800 adults in the U.S. who indicated that they planned to vote or had voted in the 1998 general election for Congress. The survey was conducted November 1-3, 1998. The sample was drawn using random dial methodology. It was distributed geographically based on the expected distribution of 1998 general election voters. The data were weighted by age, education, and gender to reflect the 1998 electorate. The margin of error is +/- 3.5 percentage points.

© 1997-98 BEI