EU-wide survey finds dip in support for LGBTI rights in Ireland

Support from 83 per cent of respondents shows fall of four percentage points since 2015

The poll shows 83 per cent of Irish people agree LGBTI people should have the same rights as heterosexuals, a drop of four percentage points carried out around the time of the 2015 marriage equality referendum. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

The poll shows 83 per cent of Irish people agree LGBTI people should have the same rights as heterosexuals, a drop of four percentage points carried out around the time of the 2015 marriage equality referendum. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

The support for rights of lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals among Irish people has dipped since the passing of the referendum on marriage equality four years ago, according to the results of a new EU-wide survey.

A new Eurobarometer report shows that 83 per cent of Irish people agree that gay, lesbian and bisexual people should have the same rights as heterosexuals.

It is the 10th highest rate among the 28 EU member states where the average rate was 76 per cent .

However, the figure represents a drop of four percentage points on the proportion of Irish people who supported such rights when a similar poll was carried out in May/June 2015. This was around the time of the historic referendum when Ireland became the first country to legalise same-sex marriage by popular vote.

Fewer than half of all people in seven EU countries were in favour of same-sex couples having the same rights as heterosexual couples, with a majority of people in Slovakia, Romania and Croatia opposing same-sex marriage.

The latest poll also found that 80 per cent of Irish people surveyed said there was nothing wrong in a sexual relationship between two persons of the same sex. However, this was down from a figure of 82 per cent in the previous survey in 2015.

Social acceptance

The poll of more than 27,000 EU citizens, including more than 1,000 in Ireland, examined the social acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people across the EU and perceptions on discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The survey found 65 per cent of people in Ireland favoured the right of transgender or transsexual persons to be able to change public documents such as birth certificates and passports to match their preferred gender identity – the 13 th highest rate among EU member states.

It also showed that most of those surveyed in Ireland (53 per cent) believe people should have a third option besides male or female to describe their identity. The EU average was 46 per cent.

The survey also revealed a rapidly-growing acceptance of same-sex couples showing affection in public, with 60 per cent of Irish people saying they would be totally comfortable with two men either kissing or holding hands in public – up from 54 per cent in 2015. The figure for two women was 63 per cent – up from 56 per cent four years ago. According to the latest survey, more than one in five people still said they would feel “totally uncomfortable” with public displays of affection by same-sex couples.

In relation to information on schools educating pupils about diversity in terms of sexual orientation, 78 per cent of Irish people supported such information being given to students.