A major survey has suggested that almost one in six Australians think those engaging in same-sex activity should be “charged as criminals”.
The study, conducted by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA), asked over 100,000 participants from 77 countries and territories for their response to the statement: “People who engage in romantic or sexual relationships with people of the same-sex should be charged as criminals.”
Around 45% of respondents from the 15 African countries agreed that same-sex relationships should be criminalised.
Meanwhile, 45% of people in Central Asia, 42% of people in South Asia and 36% of people from the Middle East agreed with the statement.
In the UK, 17% of people believe same-sex couples should be criminalised, as did 16% of Australians. In the US, 18% of respondents agreed with the statement.
Out of the 77 countries and territories that participated in the survey, 25 currently criminalise same-sex activity.
“The law of the land affects the attitudes of people in the land,” lead researcher Aengus Carroll said.
“In repressive states where there are repressive laws, attitudes of the public are affected by the laws and this is very clear in this data.”
Forty-eight percent of respondents said they could respect their religion while being accepting of “people who are romantically or sexually attracted to people of the same sex,” compared with 30% who felt the two were incompatible.
The researchers said a persistent theme in the survey was the finding that those who know someone who is gay, bisexual or transgender are almost 20% more likely to support their equal rights.
According to the International lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex association (IGLA), 72 countries worldwide still criminalise homosexuality, with 45 applying anti-gay laws to women as well as men.