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Study: Religion a ‘Red Herring’ in Denial of Services to Same-Sex Couples

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Americans are evenly divided on whether a business should be able to deny service to same-sex couples, according to a study by Indiana University Bloomington sociologists.

IU Professor Brian Powell found people who support denying service don’t necessarily see it as a matter of religious freedom. Instead, Powell tells WFHB News Director Wes Martin that the study found people were more likely to support the denial of services to same-sex or interracial couples based on their libertarian beliefs in a free market.

The study is published in Science Advances, a publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Powell says a representative sample of over 2,000 people were asked to respond to vignettes in which a photographer refused to take wedding pictures. In random versions of the vignette, the photographer was self-employed or worked for a chain business, the couple was same-sex or interracial, and the reason for denying service was religious or nonreligious.

Powell says that two in five respondents supported denying service to an interracial couple. Over half said a self-employed photographer should be able to refuse service to an interracial couple, while fewer than one-fourth said a corporation should be allowed to do so.

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