In a poll released today by Indiana Equality, Hoosiers were found to support gay and lesbian rights on a number of topics. The poll, which was piggy-backed on the Indiana Poll done semi-annually by the IU Survey Research Center, asked 504 Hoosiers their opinions on hospital visitation, inheritance rights, civil rights, and hate crimes. On each question a majority of Hoosiers agreed that gays and lesbians deserved protections in these areas.
The poll found super-majority support for questions of hospital visitation (74%), civil rights protection (79%), and hate-crimes legislation (77%). A specific follow-up question on hate crimes asking if sexual orientation should be covered under hate crimes received 85% support among those who agreed that hate crimes legislation was important. A smaller majority (53%) agreed that same-sex couples should enjoy inheritance rights.
Indiana Equality did not release polling data on marriage or civil unions. It's assumed that there would be no significant difference in these results from other polls, which shows support hovering around 30%. The folks at IE intend to do more polling in the future.
The results of this poll are significant for gay and lesbian Hoosiers. This level of support makes a strong case for passing a comprehensive state-wide civil rights bill that includes sexual orientation. After the passage of the Indianapolis HRO, about 22% of the Indiana population is now covered by local ordinances that protect from discrimination based on sexual orientation. The support is strong for protecting gay and lesbian citizens.
With gay adoption and the marriage amendment likely to be the next big issues for gay politics in Indiana, let's hope the next poll does some more extensive research on these topics. Still, these results are a major boon for the push to get a civil rights bill in the General Assembly.