This week, as Democratic lawmakers in North Carolina struggle to advance a bill extending non-discrimination protections to LGBTQ citizens, a poll shows nearly 70 percent of Americans would be comfortable with a gay or lesbian president.
An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll shows a combined 68 percent of respondents said they would be either enthusiastic (14 percent) or comfortable (54 percent) with a candidate who is gay or lesbian.
That’s a huge shift from 2006, when a similar poll found more than half of respondents said they would be “very uncomfortable” (34 percent) or would have “reservations” (19 percent) about a gay or lesbian presidential candidate.
Responses in the poll did differ by age group, with younger respondents saying they were more comfortable.
Seventy-five percent of respondents under 35 said they would be comfortable with a gay or lesbian president.
While that number is lower among those over 65, more than half in that age demographic (56 percent) said they would be comfortable.
The poll comes as LGBTQ candidates around the country are making history in races for mayor, governor, Congress and even for President.
This week Lori Lightfoot became the first openly LGBTQ mayor of Chicago – and the first Black woman to hold the office.
Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, the 37-year-old gay mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has become a major factor in the fight for the 2020 Democratic nomination. Buttigieg has raised more than $7 million from more than 65,000 separate donors, securing a place in the first Democratic debate.
Given the shifting sentiment in the country, Rep. Pricey Harrison (D-Guilford) – a sponsor of the Equality for All bill – said it should be embarrassing that basic protections from housing, service and employment discrimination aren’t already in place in North Carolina.
“You can be denied service in a restaurant if you love someone of the same sex,” Harrison said. “You can be denied housing if you are transgender.”
This legislative session marks the third time a version of the bill has been filed. Harrison said it’s past time it got a vote.
“This is the 21st century,” Harrison said. “We need to get there.”