Alex Blaze

Kentucky Supports LGBT Anti-Discrimination Measures

Filed By Alex Blaze | February 08, 2011 10:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Don't Ask Don't Tell, ENDA, lesbian, LGBT, Mitch McConnell, MSNBC, rand paul

Here's a big reason why queer people are still bitter that ENDA didn't even get a fair shot in Congress.

mitch-rand.jpgThe Kentucky Fairness Alliance just released poll numbers (conducted by a third-party) that showed, across the board, Kentuckians support antidiscrimination protections for LGBT people. By wide margins.

In Kentucky. That's the state people in Indiana make fun of to feel better about themselves.

Here are some of the results from the poll of registered voters in Kentucky (link to .pdf):

Area of protectionStrongly agreeAgreeDisagreeStrongly DisagreeDon't know
Workplace2360836
Job application2561527
Housing2459926
Public accommodations2459826
Hospital visitation2862523

The poll also showed strong support for "Gay and lesbian couples deserve the same legal protections as other people," which is why civil union campaigns often involve the Religious Right brandishing the word "marriage" like a weapon. People don't have an issue with the rights as much as the institution.

Positive results also came out a year ago from Utah, the state some gays were willing to boycott two years ago for homophobia.

This should have been a slam-dunk in these past couple of years, but there is still a lot standing in the way of ENDA. The "those who oppose discrimination protections are much more motivated" hypothesis isn't supported by these data (since "strongly disagree" had fewer people than "disagree"); the problem is the politicians.

With such broad support the problem has to be with the ruling elite instead of the people. Perhaps big business is quietly opposing this antidiscrimination law since it gives workers another reason to sue them. Perhaps politicians still mistakenly believe that LGBT issues are radioactive. Perhaps the Democrats didn't want to give too much just yet so that LGBT people would keep on voting for them. Perhaps the sort of people willing to invest themselves in politics and get into high office are just the sort of people who say they support LGBT people publicly and then call us cocksuckers behind our backs. I don't know.

Part of the issue is probably that there isn't much push coming from the community on this other than phone calls and petitions and other low-budget actions. MSNBC doesn't have an anchor devoting a good deal of time to covering ENDA and big, attention-garnering protests focused more on DADT repeal this past year because ENDA's probably a bit too abstract for the people with the money to fund LGBT nonprofits.


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ENDA didn't die b/c of opposition to 'LGBT' rights, it died because of opposition to trans rights (esp to trans women using women's restrooms and most esp to them using women's locker rooms/showers).

My guess is that the ppl who responded to this poll were thinking of cis-LGB ppl, and if trans ppl were specifically included, the results would be the other way 'round, esp if the questions were asked twice, once for cis-LGBs and once for trans ppl.

What would be even more interesting is to split the trans men and trans women, too. My guess is that the results for trans men would be close to the cis results, and the results for trans women would be even worse.

Sorry for the victimhood and whining. ~

Kathy Padilla | February 8, 2011 11:37 AM

The polling is consistent with other polling around the country in showing a very high degree of support for these measures.

The difference between support for lgb vs. t in previous polling has been negligible - usually 1% or so. Though - the t did poll higher support in legislation than lgb in an HRC poll several years back in NC (I think NC).

That's interesting news, Kathy, thanks!

It does however fly totally in the face of my real life experiences, and those of many other trans ppl (see the posts on the trans poll that was recently completed). Whatever ppl say in theory, it seems most trans ppl (esp women) find to not be born out inj practice. Or are all those landlords and employers and such somehow over-represented in the ENDA/gay rights polls.

I meant, over-represented in the 'disagree' group of the ENDA/gay rights polls.

Another question showed strong support for "Gay and lesbian couples deserve the same legal protections as other people," which is why civil union campaigns involve the Religious Right brandishing the word "marriage" like a weapon. People don't have an issue with the rights as much as the institution.

Yet more confirmation that the LGBT's insistence on the term "marriage" makes for unnecessarily difficult politics. It is amazing how many people in this country can't understand that religion and public policy are two different things.

I don't care what it's called -- I just think my taxes ought to be equal, my inheritance rights ought to be equal, and my spouse's rights ought to be equal to those enjoyed by other people's spouses. And I am tired of marriage activists verbally beating me over the head because I support "separate but not equal" ...

... and this is one reason I rarely attend a "marriage equality" rally. (Another reason is that, at my age, I am more likely to marry my cat than I am to marry a gay man.)

"Another reason is that, at my age, I am more likely to marry my cat than I am to marry a gay man."

Awwww, that is so sad! :((((

I am hoping that if you are looking for a mate, you will find someone! :)

Thanks, Carol ... maybe I'll win the PowerBall lottery, I'm sure that would make a difference!

Ok, I hadn't seen Chi8nless and Rand together in the same picture, and it reminded me: they're from the same state. Which sent shivers down my spine.

Remember, just nine months ago, McConnell was bitterly opposing Rand in their primary. How soon they forget.

But then, there are some other states who send two similarly-minded folks to the Senate.

Sometimes I wonder if, when we redisrtrict every ten years, we hadn't ought to move some STATE lines a little, too.

Polling's been scattered there, but this one was trans-inclusive.

Of course, it's different when they're asking people about "gender identity protections" than when a fundie group is talking about men going into the girls' room with your daughter. Still, voters have seen through that silliness so I don't know if it makes a big difference.

Incusive ENDA now! | February 8, 2011 4:12 PM

Thanks for a great post, Alex.

I am not at all surprised by Kathy’s post that the LGB and the T poll equally well when it comes to proposed non-discrimination laws. In other words, if your poll asked: Should it be illegal to fire someone just because she is lesbian, it makes sense that the American public will overwhelmingly agree that the firing should be illegal. Similarly, if the poll asked: Should it be illegal to fire someone just because she is transgender, I would guess and hope the results would be virtually identical.

But non-discrimination laws don’t just address the hiring/firing decisions. Those laws address all of the “terms and conditions” of work – and an inclusive ENDA therefore has implications for certain covered employees’ legal rights to use one bathroom versus another bathroom. To my knowledge, no opinion polling has ever been done on those questions. And that’s where we might, unfortunately, find very divergent poll results for LGB versus T.

This is awesome. Go Kentucky!

It would be nice if these numbers could be used to pass at least a state ENDA. In job hunting for a teaching job there, I've only come across one county (Jefferson County--Louisville) that has a non-discrimination policy that includes sexual orientation.

"The "those who oppose discrimination protections are much more motivated" hypothesis isn't supported by these data (since "strongly disagree" had fewer people than "disagree"); the problem is the politicians."

I'll agree that the problem is politicians, but the opposing side IS more motivated, we've seen that time and time again. Polling data has shown a favorable outcome for a referendum on LGBT rights only for the measure to fail. IIRC both Maine and CA were polling favorably before same-sex marriage votes with to the polls. Older people vote in much stronger numbers than younger people and we know which group votes more regularly.

The other side's motivation is directly linked to the politicians' acts. If a GOP politician doesn't vote "No" on LGBT rights, the voters will get out there and vote for his primary opponent who's further to the right than he is. If he's a Blue Dog Democrat, swing voters might pull the lever for the other party.

The point about transpeople's rights in regard to bathrooms is relevant too. Polling data doesn't usually ask for people's responses after they've been subjected to lies and fear tactics.

I read And the Band Played On last year and one of the surprising facts in the book was that even in the 80s support LGB nondiscrimation laws was polling at 62%. Public support has been there for awhile, but getting past a Senate filibuster has been another story.