59% of Brexit backers think gay sex is 'unnatural'

The Pride LGBT festival in LondonGetty

More than 60% of Conservative voters believe that gay sex is "unnatural" according to a poll released on Thursday 27 July, the 50th anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act (1967).

The legislation meant for the first time that homosexual acts in private between two men were decriminalised in England and Wales. But decades after the partial decriminalisation, a YouGov poll found that 42% of people believe gay sex is "not natural".

The survey of 1,609 respondents for PinkNews, also found that 61% of Conservative voters and 27% of Labour supporters thought gay sex was "not natural".

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The research also revealed that 59% of Brexit voters think gay sex is "not natural", compared to 25% of Remain voters.

Former Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron, an evangelical Christian, repeatedly refused to answer whether he thought gay sex was a sin during the election campaign. Lord Brian Paddick quit as the party's home affairs spokesperson in protest over the issue.

Prime Minister Theresa May, who voted against lowering the age of consent from 18 to 16 for homosexual acts in 1998, admitted that the Conservatives were wrong over the issue of gay sex in the past.

"I am proud of the role my party has played in recent years in advocating a Britain which seeks to end discrimination on the grounds of sexuality or gender identity, but I acknowledge where we have been wrong on these issues in the past," she told PinkNews.

"There will justifiably be scepticism about the positions taken and votes cast down through the years by the Conservative party, and by me, compared to where we are now."

Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell has urged May to apologise and compensate the 100,000 men convicted over consensual gay sex between 1885 and 2013.

"These men deserve an apology and compensation for the terrible persecution they suffered. Many were jailed and nearly all endured devastating knock-on consequences," he said.

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"They often lost their jobs and became near unemployable and semi-destitute because of the stigma associated with having a conviction for a homosexual offence. Some experienced the break-up of their marriages and lost custody and access to their children.

"Families and friends disowned them and they were abused and sometimes assaulted in the street. Many descended into a downward spiral of depression, alcoholism, mental illness and suicide or attempted suicide."

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