Public Attitudes Towards LGB Equality
Access Research Knowledge, No 106, 2015
4 Pages Posted: 14 Dec 2015
Date Written: December 07, 2015
Northern Ireland is the only place on the islands of Britain and Ireland where same-sex couples do not have the legal right to marry. Proposals to allow for marriage between same-sex couples have been debated in the Assembly on five occasions since 2012. On the last occasion in November of this year, and for the first time, a majority of MLAs voted in favour of the introduction of legislation. However, a ‘Petition of Concern’ triggered by the Democratic Unionist Party means that any legislation is effectively blocked. Meanwhile this subject will also be aired in the courts, where two same-sex couples are currently involved in a legal challenge regarding the failure to enact legal provision for marriage equality in Northern Ireland.
The Northern Ireland Life and Times (NILT) Survey has asked questions on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues since 1998. In 2012 the survey included a more in-depth series of questions on attitudes towards LGBT people. This was intended to provide a baseline of public opinion in advance of the publication of the Sexual Orientation Strategy. A briefing based on the results of this survey focussing specifically on attitudes towards lesbian and gay families, parenting and marriage was published last year (McAlister, Carr and Neill, 2014). This briefing focuses on the results from the survey data in 2013, where a similar set of questions were posed. Given the social, political and legislative debates noted above, it examines public attitudes on LGB equality and attitudes towards same-sex marriage.
Keywords: LGBT, Equality, Public Opinion, Marriage Equality, Northern Ireland
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