Small Business Majority, a national organization with an interest in the economy of small businesses, released a Colorado-focused poll of 400 small business owners in the state, which reveals how our “mom-and-pop” community feels about denying service to LGBTQ individuals based on religious beliefs.
The short version: Most small business owners polled don’t think religious beliefs are a good enough reason to discriminate against LGBTQ customers.
In answer to “Do you believe that a business owner should be able to deny goods or services to someone who is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender based on the owner’s religious beliefs?” 65 percent of respondents said no, 28 percent said yes and 8 percent didn’t know or refused to answer.
The numbers kiltered a little bit lower on the "no" end when the question was rephrased to specify goods and services related to a same-sex wedding. To that, 61 percent responded that, no, they didn’t think a business owner’s religious beliefs should enable them to refuse service. 33 percent said yes, and 6 percent didn’t know or refused to answer.
Last March, the Colorado House of Representatives considered a bill that would allow business owners to deny services to anyone based on personal religious beliefs. While a Democrat-led committee shut it down, it had considerable support from big players such as Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt and Rep Patrick Neville, both Republican.
But whatever their personal beliefs, the small business community of Colorado seems to have spoken. While 400 is by no means a perfect sample of every business in the state, the poll did keep its sample balanced.
48 percent of respondents were male, with 52 female — there was no option for gender neutral or gender unspecified. 28 percent identified as Republican, 20 percent as democrat, a whopping 46 percent as Independent, and the remaining 8 percent coming in as “other” or “don’t know/refuse to answer.”
A follow-up question asked all independent/other/don’t know respondents, “do you think of yourself as closer to the Republican or Democratic Party?” Surprisingly, given the results of the poll, 32 percent of these people said they were closer to Republican, compared to the 24 percent who said they leaned more Democrat.
It’s heartening to know that many Republicans and those on the conservative end of the spectrum responded in favor of LGBTQ persons’ rights to goods and services provided by all businesses. Considering the 2016 Republican party platform is blatantly anti-LGBTQ, as is our Vice President-elect, this goes to show that not everyone on the Republican spectrum agrees with the extremes.
Some extra demographic data was collected that lends its own insight, and respondents answered other questions on the topic, so check out the full report on Small Business Majority’s website.