New Poll Results Released
By Central Voice
Pennsylvania’s LGBT Equality Caucus within the General Assembly now has 58 members within the state Senate and House. That’s more than double the 26 number when the group first assembled during the last legislative session. A legislative session lasts two years and a new session began last month.
There are 55 Democrats and 3 Republicans members of the caucus, making the group both bipartisan, and with members in both chambers, bicameral.“Public opinion is moving rapidly,” said caucus co-chair State Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny. The opinion he is referring to is reflected in a new statewide poll by Equality Pennsylvania. Results of that organization’s fourth poll indicate that “nearly 7 in 10 back equal civil rights” and “more than 60% GOP support on two key bills”. In a press conference Feb. 13, members of the caucus described what looks like a concerted effort to go over state laws “with a fine tooth comb,” as Rep. Brian Sims, the state’s individual to be elected as an openly gay candidate, in order to address issues of discrimination, bullying, hate crimes, marriage and civil unions as they relate to sexual orientation and gender identity. Rep. Patty Kim, D-Dauphin, who represents Harrisburg City and portions of the region’s large LGBT population, laments the fact “this community is so talented and resourceful yet has to spend so much energy on fighting for their basic civil rights. Imagine if they turned that creativity toward education, economic development,” she said.
The Equality Pennsylvania poll results will bolster the effort to introduce civil rights protections in the state.
Equality Pennsylvania executive director Ted Martin pointed to the new poll numbers as a good sign. “Any member of the General Assembly who is reluctant to vote in support of LGBT civil rights should look at the more than doubling in size of the LGBT Equality Caucus from last session coupled with our overwhelmingly positive poll numbers for reassurance that their colleagues are there and the public is with them. Pennsylvania is the worst state in the northeast when it comes to how we treat our LGBT citizens, and now is clearly the time to trade in that sad title.”
The fourth poll for Equality Pennsylvania was conducted by the Pittsburgh firm CivicScience. The poll targeted a minimum sample of 1,000 adult Pennsylvanians between Jan. 29 and 30. Final results were reweighted as necessary to represent the full Pennsylvania population based on the 2010 U.S. Census.
The three poll questions and the responses are:
1. Do you agree or disagree that gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender citizens should be entitled to the same civil rights and protections as other minority groups?
Response: 62 percent agreed; 29 percent disagreed.
2. Do you agree or disagree that gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender citizens should be protected against being fired due to their sexual orientation or gender identity?
Response: 69 percent agreed; 24 percent disagreed. Among self-identified Republicans, 61 percent agreed; 28 percent disagreed.
3. Do you agree or disagree that hotels and other businesses should be allowed to refuse service to people based only on their sexual orientation or gender identity?
Response: 72 percent disagreed; 18 percent agreed. Among self-identified Republicans, 62 percent disagreed; 28 percent agreed.