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Exclusive: 50 years after decriminalisation, over 40% of Brits believe gay sex is unnatural

Mayer Nissim July 26, 2017
A gay kiss at Pride in London

A gay couple kiss in Trafalgar Square after the annual Pride in London Parade 2015. (Photo by Rob Stothard/Getty Images)

PinkNews Exclusive
Half a century after homosexuality was partially decriminalised in England and Wales with the Sexual Offences Act (1967) a shockingly large number of Britons believe that gay sex is unnatural.

A YouGov poll of 1,609 adults for PinkNews found that – of those who have an opinion – 42 per cent believe that gay sex is not natural.

An even higher number, 48 per cent, believe that primary school children (those aged 5 to 11) should not be taught about gay relationships in school.

Meanwhile, 36 per cent of Britons generally disapprove of gay men becoming parents, via surrogacy, adoption, or other methods.

Gay couple Kai and Michael Korok and their daughter Jana
A gay couple with their daughter (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Age seemed to be a strong factor in the responses, as over three in four (78 per cent) of people aged 18-24 believe that gay sex is natural, 69 per cent of those aged 65 and above believe that gay sex is unnatural.

Commenting on the survey, PinkNews Chief Executive Benjamin Cohen said: “It is depressing that 50 years on from the Sexual Offences Act that so many people still think that gay sex is unnatural and that a third oppose gay couples having children.

“It is gratifying though to know that for younger people, gay relationships are considered perfectly natural and they strongly support gay parents and teaching young people about gay relationships.”

The Sexual Offences Act 1967 decriminalised same-sex acts between men in England and Wales, though only when both men were over the age of 21.

The law changed in Scotland in 1980 and Northern Ireland in 1982. Further equality came in 2000 with the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act, which equalised the age of consent for gay and straight couples.

When breaking down the results of the YouGov poll for PinkNews, further details emerged.

Across the board, Brexit voters were less progressive on gay rights than their Remain counterparts.

59 per cent of Brexit supporters believe gay sex is unnatural, compared to just 25 per cent of Remain voters with that opinion.

Furthermore, 68 per cent of Brexit voters believe children should not be taught about gay relationships in primary school, compared to 29 per cent of Remain voters.

San Francisco Pride recognises the Brexit vote
San Francisco Pride recognises the Brexit vote (Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)

50 per cent of Leave voters do not approve of gay men becoming parents, compared to 78 per cent of Remain voters who generally approve.

Mr Cohen said: “It has long been suggested that Brexit supporters would be likely to be anti-LGBT rights but now we know that there is a potential correlation with voting for Brexit and opposing gay rights.”

A similar pattern held for those who voted Conservative at the last general election compared to Labour and Liberal Democrat supporters.

61 per cent of Tories who expressed an opinion said that gay sex is not natural, while 73 per cent of Labour voters and 78 er cent of Liberal Democrat voters believe gay sex is natural.

More: 50 year anniversary since partial decriminalisation of homosexuality, 50th anniversary, poll, sexual offences act, survey, YouGov

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