Most Americans believe political correctness has silenced discussions on important topics, a new poll has found.
The survey found people with conservative views on issues such as abortion and homosexuality feel they cannot share them.
However, the survey also revealed that 81 per cent oppose forcing churches to carry out same-sex weddings and more than six in ten reject coercive laws on transsexualism.
The Cato Institute conducted the poll alongside YouGov, asking more than 2,500 US adults their views for its free speech and tolerance study.
• 68 per cent of US citizens think a baker should not be forced to make a gay wedding cake if it violates their religious convictions;
• Two-thirds say nothing should happen to such a baker if they decline the order;
• 90 per cent of ‘liberals’ believe it is offensive or hateful to state that homosexuality is a sin, in comparison to 47 per cent of ‘conservatives’.
• A slim majority of Americans believe local state officials should carry out same-sex weddings.
On political correctness, 71 per cent believe it “has done more to silence important discussions our society needs to have”.
Only a minority of Americans said they were “very willing” to discuss homosexuality, while just over 50 per cent said they would be keen to talk about abortion.
People with conservative views felt nervous speaking about many issues, they told the pollsters, including same-sex marriage and abortion.
When quizzed about churches conducting same-sex weddings, Americans opposed coercion – regardless of their own religious affiliation.
On transsexualism 62 per cent said they would oppose “a law that requires people refer to a transgender person by their preferred gender pronouns and not according to their biological sex”.
Last week, a UK journalist criticised its “culture of denunciation” which leaves people too scared to speak out on certain issues.
Charles Moore, former editor of The Daily Telegraph, said such a culture tries to determine what side people take on controversial subjects by fiercely denouncing those who voice a dissenting opinion.