British study finds wide gender gap in views of gay and lesbian parents

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According to a new study by British Social Attitudes, views on whether gay people should be parents have a wide gender gap.

The study, which surveyed over 3,000 people, found that the vast majority of women are in favor of gay male couples raising children (70 percent), but men are split nearly fifty-fifty, with 47 percent saying they are against it.

In another type of gender gap, both groups proved to be more in favor of lesbian couples parenting, with only 42 percent of men and 27 percent of women saying they don’t approve of two-mom families.

Similar to findings from an American study done by the Public Religion Research Institute (PPRI), the British Social Attitudes study found that as dismal as some of the numbers may sound, opinions on the LGBT community in general have been improving rapidly over the last few years and decades. For example, a 1983 study found that 87 percent of the population in Britain was against children being raised by gay parents.

Another finding that matched the PPRI’s conclusions regarded the generational gap. Regardless of other demographics they belonged to, the age group most in support of families headed by gay parents was that of people under 35.

Among those aged 17 to 34, only 20 percent said that gay male couples were not as suited to parenting as heterosexual couples, compared to 57 percent of the over-55 crowd. Additionally, only 17 percent of the 17 to 34 demographic said heterosexual couples are better parents than lesbian couples, said 50 percent of those aged 55 or over said the same.

The Chief Executive of NatCen Social Research, Penny Young, told Gay Star News, “This research shows just how much things have changed, but also that among a large minority traditional perceptions of families remain intact.

“Although campaigners may well be disheartened by just how much this issue continues to divide the public, there are certainly positives for them to take from this research – the vast generational differences suggest a view on its way out.”

The largest study ever done on children from gay families versus straight families found that children with gay or lesbian parents were in fact happier, with closer-knit families, than those raised by heterosexual couples.

429Magazine

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