It's been a month since the Supreme Court ruled same-sex marriage was a constitutionally-protected right for all Americans. A new poll shows most Utahns remain opposed to the decision. Utahns also overwhelmingly support legal protections for businesses that refuse to provide services for same-sex couples on religious grounds.
The survey, conducted by Dan Jones & Associates, finds 58% of Utahns against same-sex marriage, with a whopping 50% saying they are "strongly opposed." A little more than a third of Utahns are in favor.
Not surprisingly, Utah Republicans remain steadfastly against the ruling legalizing same-sex marriage while Democrats are overwhelmingly in favor. 84% of Republicans are opposed while 90% of Democrats feel the opposite. Independent voters are split, with 45% for and 49% against.
Younger Utahns feel more favorably towards same-sex marriage than their older counterparts, but they still don't constitute a majority in their respective age groups.
– Among 18-24-year-old Utahns, 56% oppose same-sex marriage while 44% are in favor.
– 25-34-year-old Utahns: 51% favor same-sex marriage while 44% are opposed.
– Utahns aged 35-44 oppose same-sex marriage by a 56-35% margin.
– Those between 45-54 are against the practice 58-40%.
– Utahns aged 55-64 are opposed 65-30%.
– Those over 65 years old are against 69-30%.
Despite the ruling, religious organizations will not be forced to perform same-sex marriages if they object to the practice. But, it's not clear whether private citizens can be held liable for discrimination if they refuse to provide services to same-sex couples because of their sincerely held religious beliefs. Utah lawmakers passed a so-called "religious liberty" bill during the 2015 session as part of the statewide non-discrimination legislation. Sen. Mike Lee is spearheading similar efforts on a national level to provide special legal protections for those who refuse to provide services to same-sex couples due to their religious convictions.
Utahns overwhelmingly support providing such special legal protections. 74% say businesses should be able to refuse services for same-sex weddings while enjoying legal protections for doing so. Just 19% of Utahns say businesses should not be allowed to discriminate legally against same-sex couples on religious grounds.
90% of Republicans think there should be special protections for the refusal to do business with same-sex couples as do 68% of independent voters. 55% of Democrats think the special legal protections are unnecessary, and businesses should not be able to discriminate based on religious beliefs.
The survey was conducted July 14-21 among 610 Utah residents. It has a margin of error of +/-3.97%.