53% of Adults in India Support Legalisation of Same-Sex Marriages, Finds Pew Research Center

The findings are from the latest survey carried out by Pew Research Center in 24 countries across the world between February 20 and May 22 this year to understand how people view same-sex marriage.

New Delhi: A new survey by Pew Research Center has found 53% of adult Indians are in favour of legalising same-sex marriage.

Among those who favour such a union, 28% ‘strongly favour’ and 25% ‘somewhat favour’ the move. On the other hand, 43% of Indian adults ‘totally oppose’ such marriages while 31% ‘strongly oppose’ and 12% ‘somewhat oppose’.

The findings are from the latest survey carried out by Pew Research Center in 24 countries across the world between February 20 and May 22 this year to understand how people view same-sex marriage.

As for India, the survey findings can be a shot in the arm for same-sex couples and those who support their cause given that a majority of adult Indians (53%) are in favour of legalisation of same-sex marriages. The issue is currently under the consideration of the Supreme Court, where a five-judge bench is hearing the case. The Union government, though, for its part, has opposed legalisation of same-sex marriages, saying it goes against Indian culture and heteronormative framework of sexual relations. As on today, in India, homosexuality is legal, but marriage between two homosexual adults is still considered illegal.

Globally, it has been found that support for legal same-sex marriage is the highest in Sweden, where 92% of adults favour it, and the lowest in Nigeria, where only 2% back it. The survey has considered and documented attitudes across various demographic factors such as age, gender, political ideology, and whether people consider religion important in their lives.

In terms of global regions, people in Western Europe stand out as staunch supporters of same-sex marriage. At least eight in 10 adults support it in Sweden (92%), the Netherlands (89%), Spain (87%), France (82%) and Germany (80%). In each of these countries, same-sex marriages have the backing of the local law.

On the other hand, a mere 41% of adults in Poland and 31% in Hungary are in favour of same-sex marriages. In both these European countries, same-sex marriages are not legal, and often groups demanding LGBTQ+ rights are targeted through state repression.

As for North America, around eight in 10 Canadians (79%) support same-sex marriage, as do 63% in both the US and Mexico. Same-sex marriage is legal in all three countries. In South America, 67% of Argentinians and 52% of Brazilians support the right of gay and lesbian people to marry. Both countries have also legalised the marriage of homosexuals.

In the case of Asia-Pacific, around three-quarters of adults in Australia (75%) and Japan (74%) favour legal same-sex marriage. While Australia has legalised same-sex marriage, Japan has not yet. In South Korea, same-sex marriage is not legal and the debate is making headlines. Among South Koreans, 40% favour legal same-sex marriage, and 59% oppose it. Indonesians are highly opposed to same-sex marriage legalisation. A mere 5% of Indonesians support same-sex marriage.

The survey has also found that in 12 of the countries surveyed, adults under 40 are more likely than elderly people to support the marital union of homosexuals. However, there are no such significant differences in terms of age in other countries.

Similarly, women in 14 countries said they are more likely to support the marriage of gays and lesbians legally than men. In 17 of the surveyed countries, people with more formal education are more likely than those with less education to support allowing gays and lesbians to marry, the survey noted.

The survey findings for India also refute the claim made by the Bar Council of India (BCI) that “more than 99.9% of people of the country are opposed to the idea of same-sex marriage”. The BCI had claimed that the figures it put out are based on its own survey. However, it has never put out a survey report detailing methodology, sample size and any other data points.

Mentioning that there is overwhelming opposition (99.9%) to the legalisation of same-sex marriage, it had passed a resolution that called upon the apex court from adjudicating on same-sex marriages. The BCI, in line with the government’s view, had appealed to the top court to desist from hearing the pleas seeking legalisation of same-sex marriage, terming it “highly inappropriate”. It had rather said the issue of marriage equality between heterosexual and homosexual couples is left to the legislative process.