Nearly a year after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalized same-sex marriage across the country, attitudes haven’t changed in Louisiana about gay marriage, with a new poll finding that more than half of residents oppose marriage between two people of the same sex.
And more than four decades after the landmark Roe v. Wade decision made abortion legal, about 55 percent of Louisiana residents say they think that it should be illegal in all or most cases.
The seventh report from the 2016 Louisiana Survey found that Louisiana residents’ views on social issues, including gay rights, abortion, Confederate monuments and guns, remain mostly conservative.
The survey, conducted annually by the LSU Public Policy Research Lab, polled 1,001 Louisiana residents by phone Feb. 1-26. It has a margin of error of 3.1 percent.
About 53 percent of respondents said they oppose same-sex marriage to just 41 percent who say they support it — the same division the LSU survey found a year ago before the Supreme Court ruling.
Additionally, 52 percent of respondents said businesses that provide wedding services, such as catering or flowers, should be allowed to refuse services to same-sex couples. About 41 percent said businesses should be required to provide services to gay couples even if they object to same-sex marriage for religious reasons.
The attitudes vary widely, based on age and region of the state.
The poll found that younger people were more accepting of same-sex marriage, but 70 percent of people 65 years and older were opposed.
New Orleans was the only region of the state where a majority of respondents (56 percent) said they favor legal recognition of same-sex marriages. Meanwhile, only about one in three residents in north Louisiana and the southwest region of the state said they support same-sex marriage.
So-called “religious freedom” laws have drawn headlines across the country in recent months. The varying bills seek to protect businesses’ ability to refuse service to same-sex couples based on religious objections. Opponents argue that they allow discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Opinions on religious freedom laws in Louisiana largely match up with attitudes toward gay marriage in general, the LSU survey found.
The survey also found Louisiana residents are generally conservative on other social issues.
“Louisiana residents are generally more opposed to abortion than are Americans as a whole,” the report notes.
About 40 percent of respondents said abortion should be legal, while more than half said it should be illegal — nearly the mirror opposite of national views.
Nearly three-fourths of Louisiana residents said they don’t support the removal of monuments that honor people who fought for the Confederacy, and about half said that the state should issue license plates featuring the Confederate battle flag, if drivers request them.
The issue of monuments that honor people who fought for the South in the Civil War has drawn increased attention since the New Orleans City Council voted in December to remove monuments to Gen. Robert E. Lee, Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard.
But state lawmakers have twice rejected attempts to block the monuments’ removal.
On the issue of guns, most residents said they oppose a statewide ban on assault weapons, while 36 percent said they would support such a ban. When asked more vaguely, the report notes that 55 percent said they would support more restrictions on access to firearms, in general.
Meanwhile, more than two-thirds of respondents said they oppose allowing Syrian refugees to settle in Louisiana, while just 24 percent said they would welcome refugees from Syria.
Syrian refugees became a hot-button issue in the final days of last year’s gubernatorial campaign following the Paris terrorist attacks in November. Governors across the country moved to block settlement in their states.
Follow Elizabeth Crisp on Twitter, @elizabethcrisp.
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