Gay equality: are we there yet?

March 28, 2014, 9:13 AM GMT+0

Most people support the new change in law allowing same-sex couples to marry – but on whether gay people are treated equally or worse than straight people they divide 43-33%

Saturday is a momentous occasion for the gay rights movement, as same-sex marriages take place in England and Wales for the first time. History has been steadily turning in favour of gay people, with 2005 seeing the introduction of civil partnerships, 2000 seeing the age of consent for gay people lowered to 16 and 1967 seeing the decriminalisation of homosexual acts.

But while in legal terms gay equality is supported and has been very nearly achieved, inequality is still perceived by a significant proportion of society.

People now support the change in law, passed in July 2013, to allow same-sex couples to marry, by 57-32%. Indeed, they have done for a while: In December 2012 the proposed change was supported by 55-36%, and in May 2013 it was supported by 54-37%.

More Conservatives now support (50%) than oppose (43%) same-sex marriage; a first in the three polls mentioned.

However, while 43% think that gay people in the UK are generally treated equally to straight people, a significant third (33%) of people say they are actually treated worse. 11% say they are treated better.

And the perception is particularly acute with young people, who are the only age group more likely to say gay people are treated worse (44%) than equally (38%) to straight people.

The first same-sex couples to marry will be Brighton actor and guesthouse owner Andrew Wale and Neil Allard. They will marry in the music room of the Royal Pavilion shortly after midnight tonight. Mr Wale said: "I feel so lucky to live in a country where human rights and equality are moving in the right direction, and in a city with such an impressive history of tolerance and inclusion".

Image: Getty

See the same-sex marriage results

See the gay equality results

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