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Exclusive: Conservative voters oppose gay-inclusive relationship education

Nick Duffy July 26, 2017

ORMSKIRK, ENGLAND - MAY 01: British Prime Minister Theresa May addresses supporters at an election campaign rally on May 1, 2017 in Mawdesley Village Hall near Ormskirk, England. After campaigning on the doorsteps of Lancashire the prime minister gave a speech to supporters as she attempts to gain a larger Brexit mandate by holding a snap general election on June 8th 2017. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

PinkNews Exclusive
Conservative voters are opposed to their own party’s stance on inclusive sex education, polling has revealed.

The Conservative government recently passed a law to make sex and relationship (SRE) education statutory in all schools. It is currently working with Stonewall to draw up guidelines regarding same-sex inclusivity in lessons.

Education Secretary Justine Greening has expressed support for same-sex inclusive relationship education, but polling by YouGov for PinkNews found a strong amount of opposition among 2017 Tory voters.

Among voters who expressed an opinion, 68% of Conservatives believe that children should not be taught about gay relationships in primary school.

Graph showing voters who oppose gay-inclusive primary education

This compares to just 30% of Labour voters and 26% of Liberal Democrat voters who believe that such relationships should not be taught in primary schools.

Conservative Party voters were less progressive on a number of other questions raised, compared to their Labour and Lib Dem counterparts.

Asked if they believe gay sex is natural or not natural, 61% of Tories who expressed an opinion said that they believe gay sex is not natural.

Meanwhile, 73% of Labour voters and 78% of Liberal Democrat voters believe gay sex is natural.

Conservative voters are also far more likely to disapprove of gay men becoming parents.

Opposition to equality by party

80% of Labour voters and 79% of Liberal Democrats generally approved of same-sex parenting, but just 46% of Conservatives approved.

The polling, carried out to mark the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of gay sex in England and Wales, shows how much resistance to LGBT equality there still is among the general public.

It also demonstrates that the Conservative government is still taking a risk by pushing ahead with reforms on LGBT rights, against the wishes of its own voters.

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.”

Mr Cohen added: “When it comes to gay inclusive relationship education, it is clear that the Conservative government will be going against many of its own supporters.”

He continued: “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.”

More: 50th anniversary

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