[Editor’s note: Crux tracks the intersection of faith and public policy across a wide range of issues, from immigration and climate change to religious freedom and beyond. Given recent tensions over transgender rights, Crux, in collaboration with Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York, sponsored a survey of American attitudes.]

WASHINGTON, D.C. — As debate ensues over the White House’s decision to return questions of bathroom, shower and locker room use to states and local schools, a newly released Crux/Marist poll finds that majorities of Americans support the traditional linkage of use of these facilities to biological sex, and do not believe that people should be able use the facility they prefer.

Majorities also support the right of doctors and employers to opt out of performing or covering surgery or other treatments intended to change someone’s sex.

By a margin of almost 40 points, a majority of Americans – 66 percent to 27 percent – do not think “someone who is transitioning to become the opposite sex” should be allowed to use whichever showers or locker rooms they want.

By a margin of nearly 20 points, a majority of Americans have the same opinion about bathroom use (56 percent to 38 percent).

Eight in 10 Americans say doctors and other healthcare professionals should not be forced to be involved with operations intended to change someone’s sex, if they disagree with such procedures for religious reasons. Fewer than two in 10 disagree (18 percent).

And by a margin of 30 points (62 percent to 32 percent), Americans believe employers should be legally allowed to opt out of covering medical procedures intended to change a person’s sex on the basis of freedom of religion.

When asked if they thought the laws had to choose between protecting transgender and religious rights, or could protect both, nearly three-quarters of Americans say that laws can protect both (74 percent to 18 percent).

Pope Francis has weighed into the debate over gender identity, saying last year: “Today, schools are teaching children – children! – that everyone can choose their own sex. And why is this being taught? Because their textbooks are chosen by the people and institutions that give money. This is ideological colonization, promoted by very influential nations. This is terrible.”

He has also spoken out against “gender theory,” saying that it “does not recognize the order of creation.”

This survey of 545 adults was conducted December 12th and December 13th, 2016 by The Marist Poll and sponsored in partnership with Crux.

Adults 18 years of age and older residing in the contiguous United States were contacted on landline or mobile numbers and interviewed in English or Spanish by telephone using live interviewers.

Results are statistically significant within 4.2 percentage points, although the error margin increases for cross-tabulations.