More than half the population of India supports same-sex marriage – where it is still illegal

A man with a love wins poster

New research has revealed more than half of India’s population supports same-sex marriage, as the debate over legalising unions in the country trudges on.

A study conducted by the Pew Research Center, which fielded research in 24 countries, found 53 per cent of those surveyed in India either ‘somewhat favour’ or ‘strongly favour’ same-sex marriage. 

There was slightly higher support amongst the ‘strongly favour’ crowd (28 per cent) compared to the ‘somewhat support’ group (25 per cent). 

Same-sex marriage in India is not currently legal and queer couples in the country are only afforded certain rights if they live together as a cohabitating couple.  

That could change if the Supreme Court, which is examining evidence and deciding whether or not to legalise same-sex marriage, chooses to give LGBTQ+ Indians equal rights. 

In 2018, the country decriminalised gay sex, overturning a piece of legislation which was a relic of Britain’s colonial rule of the Asian nation. 

You may like to watch

Many activists see same-sex marriage as the next being step to build on the decriminalisation of homosexuality, and would make India only second country in Asia to give legal recognition to the unions. 

The LGBTQ+ community has been calling for same-sex marriage to be legalised in India (Biswarup Ganguly / Eyepix Group/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

Elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific region, the Pew Research Center also surveyed people in Australia, Japan, South Korea and Indonesia.

The research found support for same-sex marriage is highest in Australia, where unions have been legal since 2017, at 75 per cent. 

Within the Australia figures, a majority of those who express support for equal marriage rights do so ‘strongly’ (57 per cent). 

Overall support in Japan was slightly lower at 74 per cent, with more people (57 per cent) falling into the ‘somewhat favour’ category. 

LGBTQ+ activists in Japan have been ramping up pressure on the government to increase rights for the LGBTQ+ community, as well as bring in nationwide laws enabling same-sex marriage and adoption. 

The lowest support in the countries surveyed in the region was in Indonesia. 

Around nine-in-ten Indonesians oppose allowing gays and lesbians to marry. Within this, 88 per cent say they ‘strongly oppose’ same-sex marriage and just 5 per cent expressed support. 

Elsewhere, people in Sweden expressed the highly support for same-sex marriage out of any of the 24 nations surveyed. 

A whopping 92 per cent of Swedes support gay unions, which have been legal since 2009, with a huge 74 per cent saying they ‘strongly favour’ it. 

At the opposite end of the scale, Nigeria had the highest rate of opposition to same-sex marriage. 

97 per cent of those surveyed said they were against legalising equal unions, with a staggering 92 per cent saying they ‘strongly oppose’ such marriages. 

Only 2 per cent of Nigeria’s were in favour of same-sex marriage.