- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Fewer than one-quarter of likely U.S. voters support key elements of the proposed federal Equality Act, which would require businesses and faith-based institutions to hire individuals who do not necessarily share their religious beliefs.

About 20% of 1,000 respondents to a June 16-17 survey by Rasmussen Reports said churches, synagogues, mosques and other religious groups should be required by law to hire workers who don’t share their faith; 50% said they oppose such a requirement; and 30% were unsure.

The survey, sponsored by the evangelical youth training group Summit Ministries, found that 37% of Democratic voters, 60% of Republican voters and 54% of independent voters would support exempting faith organizations from the Equality Act.

The survey also found that 82% of likely voters — including 86% of Republicans, 79% of Democrats and 83% of independents — say that freedom of religion is important to a healthy American society.

“This research affirms that the American people overwhelmingly support the continued protection of the constitutional right of freedom of religion, and oppose policies requiring churches and faith-based charities and organizations to compromise their deeply-held religious beliefs. In an era of hyper-partisanship, freedom of religion retains broad, bipartisan support among Democrats, Republicans and independents,” said Summit Ministries President Jeff Myers.

The House first passed the Equality Act in 2019 and again in February, but it has stalled in the Senate.

Critics say the legislation would eviscerate key protections of the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which President Bill Clinton signed into law.

• Mark A. Kellner can be reached at mkellner@washingtontimes.com.

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