Survey: A quarter of people in the UK disagree with homosexuality, but acceptance continues to rise

Published: September 10, 2013

 The 30th edition of the annual government-funded British Social Attitudes survey found that 22% of respondents thought that “sexual relations between two adults of the same sex” were “always wrong.” A further 6% described them as “mostly wrong.”

On the other hand, 47% of respondents thought that same-sex relations were “not wrong at all,” with a further 10% describing them as “rarely wrong.”
The figures form part of an encouraging trend however, with the percentage of those stating that same sex relations are either “always” or “mostly” wrong falling from 36% in 2008. When the survey began in 1983, the figure stood at 62%, before reaching a peak of 75% in 1987 in the wake of the HIV/AIDS crisis.
The figures also indicate a marked increase in the acceptance of homosexuality over the last ten years, when the proportion of respondents agreeing that same sex relations were ‘not wrong at all’ stood at just 37%.
The report describes the change in public opinion towards homosexuality as “perhaps the most dramatic attitude shift of all” over the last 30 years, and found that each successive generation is more liberal than the one before.
In 1983, only 41% of respondents thought it “acceptable for a homosexual person to teach in a school,” while just 53% felt it was acceptable for a homosexual to “hold a responsible position in public life.” In 2012, these figures had risen to 83% and 90% respectively.
However, issues such as adoption and same-sex marriage continue to prove divisive: just 48% agreed that “homosexuals should be able to adopt a baby under the same conditions as other couples,” though the figure has dropped markedly from the 87% who opposed it in 1983.
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