Poll: Strong support across Europe for equal marriage and adoption – but France divided

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

A majority of people in several European countries believe that same-sex couples should be allowed to get married and adopt children, but in France the public is divided, according to YouGov.

It’s latest poll shows a slim majority of French people (51%) are against allowing gay couples to adopt. The findings come ahead of an expected rally this weekend in France against the government’s plans to legalise equal marriage and equal adoption rights.

Support for same-sex marriage is highest in Denmark and Sweden, at 79%, and lowest in France where 47% are in favour of allowing gay couples to wed, while 41% are opposed and 12% say they don’t know.

In Britain, 55% support same-sex marriage, 32% are opposed and 13% don’t know, however, UK polls in the past year have shown support for equal marriage reaching as high as 71%.

The findings come from the latest YouGov EuroTrack survey, a multi-country study tracking public opinion in the UK, Germany, France, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway.

The poll also revealed that a majority of people in every country surveyed believe same-sex couples should be allowed to adopt children, but in France a slim majority are opposed.

Support for gay adoption is strongest in Sweden, at 65%, in contrast to only 38% of people in France who are in favour.

51% of the French public think same-sex couples should not be allowed to adopt children, and 12% say they don’t know.

In Britain, 53% of people believe gay couples should be permitted to adopt children, 31% are opposed and 16% don’t know.

Commenting on the results, Head of Political Research for YouGov France Suzanne Ter-Minassian said: “French public opinion is increasingly divided over the issue of gay marriage and adoption, as this issue has become a steppingstone for the opposition since François Hollande’s election.

Public opinion tends to follow party lines, with 65% of Socialist Party supporters being in favour of same-sex adoption, versus 29% of UMP voters and only 11% for those who support the far right Front National. No doubt the enduring influence of the Catholic Church in France is also shaping the debate, but the results of our poll indicate that in the main this is a political issue.”

Earlier this week, the ruling French Socialist government dropped medically assisted reproduction for lesbian couples from the country’s upcoming bill to legalise marriage equality.

In August, an Ifop survey carried out in the Journal du Dimanche, suggested that 61% of the French population were in support of marriage equality, and 46% of the population were in favour of providing reproductive assistance to lesbian couples who want children.

President Hollande had previously conceded that the religious opponents of his equal marriage plans were proving to be “tough” to deal with.

However, a bill is set to be introduced in the French Parliament in the next few weeks.