Scientific Opinion Poll: Florida Small Business Owners Think LGBT Discrimination is Bad for Business
Small business owners in Florida oppose denying goods or services to LGBT customers based on religious beliefs and freedom of speech, and believe state laws allowing for LGBT discrimination are bad for the business climate
Tallahassee, Florida—A scientific opinion poll released today found Florida entrepreneurs strongly believe business owners should not be able to deny goods and services to LGBT customers based on their religious beliefs or because of their right to free speech or free artistic expression, and that nondiscrimination policies are good for their bottom line.
The survey, conducted by Chesapeake Beach Consulting on behalf of Small Business Majority, found 69 percent of small business owners in Florida believe business owners should not be permitted to deny goods or services to LGBT persons based on an owner’s religious beliefs. What’s more, 60 percent say they oppose denying goods or services for a same-sex wedding on religious grounds.
Additionally, 53 percent of small business owners believe a business owner should not be allowed to deny services to a customer because the owner believes that doing so violates their right to free speech, compared to 28 percent who feel a business owner should be allowed to deny services for this reason. This sentiment grows when it comes to wedding-related services: 63 percent don’t think a business owner should be able to deny services related to a wedding for a same-sex couple because the owner believes it violates their right to free speech. Similarly, 60 percent of small business owners don’t believe that a business owner should be able to claim an exemption to nondiscrimination laws if they believe serving a customer goes against their right to free artistic expression.
“As a small business owner, I don’t think businesses should be allowed to discriminate against LGBT customers or clients for any reason,” said Ondre Reid, owner of Advance Research and Human Development LLC in Miami. “Everyone is entitled to their beliefs and to freedom of speech; however, that should not come at the expense of treating everyone fairly. This is why we have a formal nondiscrimination policy at our business. It shows we have a level of caring that resonates with our employees and within the wider research industry, which helps set us apart when competing for research studies. It also helps us find and retain the best talent—something that’s very difficult in our competitive field.”
Small business owners were also asked about legislation considered in several states that would allow business owners to deny goods or services to LGBT customers based on their religious beliefs. Nearly two-thirds of respondents (63 percent) believe enacting such a law in Florida would hurt the business climate.
Small business owners also support furthering protections for LGBT individuals. Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) believe employers should not be able to fire or refuse to hire someone who is gay or transgender based on the employer’s religious beliefs, and a majority of small business owners (51 percent) agree that nondiscrimination laws actually improve their bottom lines by attracting the most talented employees, regardless of whether the employee is LGBT.
“States that have enacted laws allowing business owners to refuse service to LGBT customers have faced serious economic backlash,” said David Chase, Vice President of National Outreach for Small Business Majority. “It should come as no surprise then that the vast majority of Florida’s job creators oppose allowing businesses to discriminate against LGBT customers because they believe that doing so is bad for the local business climate and for their business’s bottom line. Lawmakers in Florida and in Washington must understand what small business owners already know—there is a real monetary cost to LGBT discrimination.”
The poll reflects a national survey of 500 small business owners with 1-100 employees, with an oversample of 131 small business owners in Florida. The national survey has a margin of error of +/- 4.5 percent and the state survey has a margin of error of +/- 8.7 percent.
For the full poll report, please visit: http://smallbusinessmajority.org/sites/default/files/research-reports/111617-FL-Small-Business-Non-Discrimination-Poll.pdf
About Small Business Majority
Small Business Majority was founded and is run by small business owners to ensure America’s entrepreneurs are a key part of an inclusive, equitable and diverse economy. We actively engage our network of more than 55,000 small business owners in support of public policy solutions and deliver information and resources to entrepreneurs that promote small business growth. Our extensive scientific polling, focus groups and economic research help us educate and inform policymakers, the media and other stakeholders about key issues impacting small businesses and freelancers. Learn more about us on our website and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.