Report: 71 percent of Britons back equal marriage rights for gay couples

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In a report released by Stonewall today, a YouGov poll has found 71 percent of people approve of the government’s plans to allow gay couples to marry, and the same number want faiths to be able to perform gay weddings ceremonies if they choose.

The poll also showed that three in five people of faith support the government’s plans to extend civil marriage to gay couples, despite opposition by many faith leaders.

Stonewall’s five-yearly polling of public attitudes, for its 2012 Living Together report, said more than 80 per cent of British adults under 50 supported the proposal.

Respondents were asked to what extent they supported the idea: “The Government intends to extend the legal form and name of civil marriage to same-sex couples.” 71 percent were in favour of the move.

YouGov surveyed 2,074 adults in England, Scotland and Wales online between 25th November and 5th December last year.

The poll revealed that three in five people believed there was public prejudice against Britain’s 3.7 million lesbian, gay and bisexual people.

Further, 83 percent of people would have no objection to the first child of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and heir to the throne growing up lesbian, gay or bisexual.

79 percent of the people of faith surveyed who believed that prejudice against gays and lesbians existed said it should be tackled. 58 percent believed gay people should be able to marry in civil ceremonies.

Ben Summerskill, Chief Executive of Stonewall 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.”

The Living Together 2012 report also reveals 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.

Mr Summerskill added: “Although the research contains good news, 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.”

Over three quarters of people, 77 per cent, said the media still relies heavily on clichéd stereotypes of lesbian, gay and bisexual people.