A poll out Thursday shows a majority of
Americans believe wedding-related businesses should have the right to
refuse service to gay couples based on their religion.
According to the AP-GfK poll of 1,045
adults conducted online Jan. 29-Feb. 2, 57 percent of respondents
said that business owners – such as florists and bakers – should
be allowed to refuse service based on their religious beliefs.
Pollsters found that 44 percent of
Americans support allowing gay couples to marry in their own states,
while 39 percent remain opposed.
The country is evenly divided at 48
percent on how the Supreme Court should rule in cases challenging
restrictive marriage bans in four states.
Among those who favor marriage
equality, about a quarter think local officials and judges with
religious objections should be exempt from issuing marriage licenses
to gay couples, and a third say wedding-related businesses with
objections should be allowed to turn away gay couples.
James Esseks, director of the LGBT
project of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), told the AP the
First Amendment's protection of religious freedom “does not give
any of us the right to harm others.”
GOP lawmakers in several states have
introduced proposals which would give religious exemptions to those
who issue marriage licenses.