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Men more sceptical about two dad families

06 March 2014

47% of men disagree that a gay male couple can do as good a job bringing up children as a man and a woman, in contrast to 30% of women

New analysis of the British Social Attitudes survey published by NatCen Social Research during gay adoption week reveals that men take a more conservative stance on gay adoption and parenting.47% of men do not think that a same sex male couple can bring children up as well as male-female couples, while just 30% of women do.

When it comes to lesbian partners raising children, views are softer, but a gender gap remains; 42% of men doubt same sex female couples’ ability to raise children, in comparison to 27% of women. Men are also more likely to differentiate between gay male and lesbian couples.

Overall, 35% of all Brits say that lesbian couples cannot bring up children as well as male-female couples, in comparison to 39% of those who doubt gay male couples’ ability.

Public increasingly open-minded

Just under half (49%) of Brits agree that gay couples should be allowed to adopt while 44% say that they should not. This represents dramatic change on thirty years ago; in 1983, 8% of the population agreed with gay adoption, while 87% disagreed.

The analysis also shows strong generational trends, with older people far more likely to be concerned about same sex couples bringing up children:

  • 20% of 17-34 year olds think that same sex male couples can’t bring up children as well as opposite sex couples, in comparison to 57% of the over-55s;
  • 17% of 17-34 year olds think that lesbian couples can’t bring up children as well as couples of the opposite sex, in comparison to 50% of the over-55s.

Penny Young, Chief Executive of NatCen Social Research commented:

“This research shows just how much things have changed, but also that among a large minority traditional perceptions of families remain intact. Although campaigners may well be disheartened by just how much this issue continues to divide the public, there are certainly positives for them to take from this research - the vast generational differences suggest a view on its way out.”

For more information, please contact on 020 7549 9550 / 07734 960 069

Notes to editors

NatCen Social Research is an independent, not for profit organisation. We believe that social research has the power to make life better. By really understanding the complexity of people’s lives and what they think about the issues that affect them, we give the public a powerful and influential role in shaping decisions and services that can make a difference to everyone.

British Social Attitudes Each year NatCen's British Social Attitudes survey asks over 3,000 people what it's like to live in Britain and what they think about how Britain is run. Since 1983 we've been measuring and tracking changes in people's social, political and moral attitudes.