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WATCH: After RFRA, More Indiana Residents Support LGBT Protections

WATCH: After RFRA, More Indiana Residents Support LGBT Protections

Indiana Statehouse

A new poll shows a majority of Hoosiers are in favor of legal protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

More than seven months after Indiana's disastrous Religious Freedom Restoration Act was signed into law, a clear majority of Indiana residents say they support laws to protect lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender people from discrimination, according to a new poll.

The annual survey by Indianapolis TV station WISH and Ball State University found 56 percent of Indiana residents in favor of LGBT protections, while 36 percent of those polled opposed adding such protections, WISH reports.

The poll also showed the approval rating for Gov. Mike Pence, who in April buckled under pressure to sign a "fix" to Indiana's RFRA, had sunk below 50 percent. The original version of the law had been criticized as a "license to discriminate" against LGBT people.

Opponents of LGBT protections dismissed the results, arguing respondents could be confused about the actual meaning of an antidiscrimination law.

"That means you're silencing people who disagree with homosexuality or believe men should not be allowed in women's restrooms," Micah Clark, a conservative lobbyist who leads the American Family Association of Indiana, toldThe Indianapolis Star.

He told the paper he prefers the results of an Associated Press poll that showed a majority -- 51 percent -- want the government to protect religious liberties over the rights of gays and lesbians.

Clark also pointed to Houston's vote to repeal the city's ordinance banning discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and numerous other characteristics.

"You don't fix a so-called problem of discrimination by discriminating against people of faith and people who hold to personal values," Clark told the paper.

Also Thursday, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce announced it supports adding sexual orientation and gender identity to Indiana's civil rights law.

But analysts say if Indiana Republicans want to save the state's stained reputation and soothe the worries of local corporations, these poll results and the chamber's influence may be just the motivation to swallow a bitter pill and pass LGBT protection legislation, said Andy Downs, a political science professor at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne.

In doing so, Downs told the Star, Republicans could boast their party is responsible for passing civil rights protections and at the same time rob Democrats of the same talking point.

Watch a report from WISH on the poll numbers, below.

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