Update: Human Rights Campaign releases poll on Ark. gay attitudes

    11:05 AM, Jul 8, 2013   |    comments
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    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Human Rights Campaign) -- Human Rights Campaign President and Arkansas native Chad Griffin returned to his home state today to unveil new polling looking at Arkansans' changing views on LGBT equality, and to discuss what's next in the fight for equality after the historic Supreme Court rulings. The bipartisan poll found that 61 percent of Arkansans under age 30 support marriage equality, and 63 support legislation that would ensure no one could be fired because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

    "The Court's historic rulings point to the emergence of two Americas," said HRC President Chad Griffin. "In one America, LGBT people are achieving more equality under the law than ever before. In the other America - places like Arkansas - LGBT people are still struggling to gain equal protections and benefits. But we can draw hope from these new poll numbers - Arkansans by and large reject discrimination against their friends and loved ones; and the younger generation is fully on-board with marriage."

    The poll was conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and Target Point Consulting from June 26-30, 2013.

    Additional findings:

    • 82 percent of people mistakenly believe federal law protects LGBT people from employment discrimination.
    • 90 percent of people of faith in Arkansas agree that the Golden Rule - treating others as we ourselves would wish to be treated - extends to LGBT people.
    • Nearly 70 percent of Arkansans support anti-bullying laws against LGBT youth.
    • 64 percent of Arkansans believe it does more harm than good when a religious leader condemns LGBT people.

    The polling memo is available online and can be accessed here.

    "We have a sense of both optimism and urgency," added Griffin. "But we must translate our hope for the future into action. Every person in Arkansas deserves to live in communities where they feel safe and respected. We have much work ahead of us to achieve that goal here in Arkansas, but we are up to the task."

    While in Arkansas, Griffin will participate in a discussion at the Clinton School of Public Service at the University of Arkansas, where he'll talk about the recent Supreme Court rulings and what's next in the fight for equality. That discussion will be led by former State Representative Kathy Webb. Later this evening, Griffin will attend a reception with community leaders at the Arkansas Art Center.

    Family Council responds to poll

    On Monday, Family Council President Jerry Cox responded to polling and statements implying Arkansans have shifted their views on same-sex marriage and homosexuality.

    "If you look at the facts, I think you'll see very little is new, here," Cox said. "The Human Rights Campaign conducted a poll on homosexual issues in Arkansas. Their own poll indicates most Arkansans still oppose same-sex marriage, and it shows most strongly oppose it. This is in line with the vote taken in 2004 in which seventy-five percent of Arkansans voted to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman. Proponents of same-sex marriage are touting the portions of the poll that show Arkansans think homosexuals ought to be treated fairly. If you had done that same poll ten years ago, I believe you would have found similar results.

    "Arkansas is the seventh most charitable state in the nation, according to CNN Money. Treating folks respectfully is just part of our culture, but when it comes to the legal definition of marriage, I believe most Arkansans see that as a completely different issue. Seventy-five percent of Arkansas voters approved our state marriage amendment. That's the poll I think has the most to say about where Arkansans stand on the issue."

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