UK

Decriminalisation Of Homosexuality: Poll Finds Nearly Half Of Tory Voters Think Gay Sex Is Unnatural

It's 50 years since homosexuality was decriminalised.

27/07/2017 14:46 BST | Updated 27/07/2017 16:52 BST

Almost half of Tory voters still believe gay sex is “unnatural” 50 years after homosexuality was decriminalised, a new poll has claimed. 

According to the YouGov survey, 49% of people who backed the Conservative Party in the General Election do not believe gay sex is natural, compared to 23% of Labour voters and 19% of Lib Dem supporters. 

The research comes on the same day that Theresa May admitted the Conservatives had been “wrong” about LGBT+ issues in the past. 

In an interview with LGBT+ news site PinkNews, May said: “There will justifiably be scepticism about the positions taken and votes cast down through the years by the Conservative Party, and by me, compared to where we are now.

“But, like the country we serve, my Party and I have come a long way.” 

Of the Tory voters questioned in the survey - which asked 1,609 adults about their feelings on gay rights - 31% said gay sex was natural, while 20% were unsure. 

DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS via Getty Images
Theresa May said her party had been 'wrong' about LGBT+ issues in the past 

This group were also more likely to disagree with gay men becoming parents, with 47% of Tory respondents saying they “generally disapprove” of them having children through adoption or a surrogate mother. 

In comparison, 18% of Labour voters and 19% of Lib Dems said they actively disapproved of gay men starting families.

While political leaning appeared to act as a dividing line among respondents, pollsters also found age to be a significant factor when predicting people’s beliefs about LGBT+ rights. 

While almost two-thirds (64%) of 18 to 24 year olds believe that primary school children should be taught about gay relationships, just one fifth (21%) of over-65s believe this to be the case. 

Meanwhile, Remain voters were twice as likely to believe gay sex natural than those who voted Leave - 64% compared to 32%.  

Chief Executive of PinkNews Benjamin 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.”

But he added: “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 poll was published on the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in England and Wales.

On this day in 1967, the Sexual Offences Act was given royal assent, thereby legalising “private homosexual acts” between men over the age of 21. 

Click here for a list of the biggest milestones in the battle for LGBT+ rights over the last 50 years.