Ahead of the Church of England General Synod’s debate on the issue of gay marriage today (15 February 2017), new data reveals that 50 per cent of Anglicans believe that same sex relationships are 'not wrong at all'.
The findings, which come from NatCen’s British Social Attitudes survey, show that Anglican opinions towards same sex relationships have been softening over time but acceptance is highest (73 per cent) among those with no religion. The lowest levels of acceptance of same sex relationships come from those belonging to non-Christian religions: 31 per cen of this group say that these relationships are not wrong at all.
Meanwhile, 17 per cent of Anglicans think that same sex relationships are 'always wrong', the lowest level since records began in 1983 when 51 per cent were of this view. In 2015 six per cent of those with no religion felt this way.
When it comes to the key issue of same-sex marriage, an earlier British Social Attitudes survey from 2014 showed that just under half (47 per cent) of Anglicans agreed or strongly agreed that gay and lesbian people should have the right to marry. This figure was 60 per cent among the public as a whole and 73 per cent among those with no religion.
Although the proportion opposing this view was smaller, (26 per cent of Anglicans disagreed or strongly disagreed with same sex marriage), there was still a significant proportion (20 per cent) that neither agreed nor disagreed that gay and lesbian people should be able to marry.
* The 2015 British Social Attitudes survey consisted of 4,328 interviews with a representative, random sample of adults in Britain with a response rate of 51 per cent. Interviewing was carried out between 4 July and 2 November 2015.
* The 2014 survey consisted of 2,878 interviews with a representative, random sample of adults in Britain. Interviewing was mainly carried out between August and October 2014, with a small number of interviews taking place in November 2014.
* NatCen Social Research, Britain's largest independent social research organisation, aims to promote a better-informed society through high quality social research http://www.natcen.ac.uk/