12 June 2012

Three in five people of faith in Britain support same-sex marriage

Major poll ‘holes below waterline’ Bishops’ objection to equal marriage
Eighty-three per cent say ‘no problem’ with a gay heir to the throne

A poll of more than 2,000 people conducted by YouGov for Stonewall has revealed that three in five people of faith support government plans to extend civil marriage to same-sex couples, despite a vitriolic campaign against the proposal by some faith leaders. Stonewall’s five-yearly polling of public attitudes, for its 2012 Living Together report (PDF), shows that more than 80 per cent of British adults under 50 now support the proposal.

The YouGov poll shows three in five people say there’s still public prejudice against Britain’s 3.7 million lesbian, gay and bisexual people, and four in five believe it’s right to tackle that prejudice where they say it exists. The report also finds that more than four in five people would have no objection if the first child – and heir to the throne – of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge grew up to be lesbian, gay or bisexual.

Stonewall Chief Executive Ben Summerskill said: ‘Recently we’ve heard senior clerics distressingly compare marriage for gay people to polygamy, bestiality and child abuse. This polling holes below the waterline the suggestion that they speak for the majority of Britain’s faith communities and vindicates years of campaigning by Stonewall to change public attitudes.’

Living Together 2012 (PDF) also reveals, however, that in the last five years 2.4 million people of working age have witnessed verbal homophobic bullying at work and 800,000 people of working age have witnessed physical homophobic bullying at work. Two thirds of people aged 18 to 29 say there was homophobic bullying in their school.

‘Although the research contains good news,’ said Ben Summerskill, ‘it’s also clear there’s a lot of work to be done before 21st-century Britain is truly tolerant. We’ll not rest until every single lesbian, gay or bisexual young person grows up in a country where they’re afforded exactly the same dignity and respect as their heterosexual counterparts.’

YouGov conducted a survey of 2,074 adults from across England, Scotland and Wales. Fieldwork was undertaken online between 25th November and 5th December 2011.The figures have been weighted and are representative of adults across Britain.

The full report is available at www.stonewall.org.uk/livingtogether (PDF)


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