Press release №1754


  • 20% of Russians perceive homosexuality as a disease that requires medical treatment
  • Eight percent of Russians think that gays can get married
  • for 80% of Russians it is unacceptable
  • Only 3% agree that same-sex couples can adopt children, not only register their marriage

80% of Russians oppose same-sex marriage.

MOSCOW, July 10, 2015. Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM) presents the results of the survey devoted to the attitudes of Russians toward people of non-traditional sexual orientation: whether Russians approve of the same-sex marriages, or not; how they perceive the adoption of children by same-sex couples.

Generally, Russians have chilly attitude towards people of non-traditional sexual orientation. Every sixth (15%) considers them ordinary men and women but refuses to have any personal relationships with them. Others treat homosexuality as a medical disease (20%) or a disease of social character (15%). A further 20% perceive them as dangerous people and propose to isolate them from society (this share has increased 1.5-fold from 12% since 2004). Only 4% of those who have gay friends agree with this stance; as for those who have no such friends, the share is 22%.

Twenty-two percent of Russians are tolerant towards homosexuals; they do not think that people should be divided according to their sexual orientation. Those who think so are mainly respondents who know gays personally (55%, twice the sample average), young respondents (30% of those aged 18-24), atheists (30%) and residents of Moscow and St.Petersburg (28%).

Today more Russians disfavor homosexual marriages than it was ten year ago: whereas 59% of Russians oppose this type of marriage in 2004, today this share makes up 80% (more often men – 86% than women – 75%). At the same time, the share of respondents who are confident that homosexuals can marry each other has decreased (from 14% to 8%, respectively). This idea is supported frequently by those respondents who have homosexual friends (28%). Six percent of Russians accept both positive and negative sides of this idea.

Russians are divided in their opinion on what position the Russian government should take towards same-sex couples; simultaneously, not too many Russians propose to give them parental rights. Only 3% of respondents agree that gays should have a right to build a family and even to adopt children. A further 3% would allow homosexuals to marry but not to adopt children.

Every tenth (12%) believes that the authorities should protect the gays against discrimination but not allow them to marry each other and to adopt children. One-third of respondents (32%) believe that no special attention should be paid to people of non-traditional orientation; at the same time, they should not be too ostentatious. Forty-one percent of Russians take a tougher stance; they think that gays must be prosecuted.  

Commenting on the survey results, Aleksey Firsov, VCIOM`s Director on Communications, remarked: “The results of the survey depict the value border between Russian population and Western countries.  Indeed, the Ipsos data shows that same-sex marriage is approved by 91% of Swedes, 89 % of Spanish, 82 %  of British, and 65% of Americans. The proportions keep decreasing as we move towards East, towards countries with traditional values: according to sociological data, in China 40% of people support same-sex marriage; in Japan – 50%, slightly more. But Russia is much more conservative than China (twice as much). Interestingly, strengthening the rejection of homosexuality we are moving contraflow and contrary to the world trend. This is why this figure can be a characteristic of national identity “.

The VCIOM opinion polls were conducted April 11-12, July 4-5, 2015; 1600 respondents in each survey were interviewed in 130 settlements in 46 regions of Russia. The margin of error does not exceed 3.5%.

How do you perceive people with non-traditional sexual orientation? (closed-ended question, one answer, %)
  2004 2013 2015
Sexual orientation is a private matter; it does not matter to me if people have traditional or non-tradition orientation   24 17 22
Gays are, of course, normal people but I do not want to communicate with them 17 19 15
They are ill; they need medical assistance 22 21 20
Homosexuality is a social disease; it is society that needs to be treated 14 22 15
Gays are dangerous people; they should be isolated from society   12 19 20
Don`t know 11 3 8
Do you agree that same-sex couples (gays and lesbians) have a right to marry each other? (closed-ended question, one answer, %)
  2005 2013 2015
Strongly agree 4 2 3
Rather agree 10 2 5
Partly agree, partly not 17 6 6
Rather not agree 25 19 10
Strongly disagree 34 67 70
Don`t know 10 4 6
Currently, different policies on same-sex marriage are widely discussed. Which of the following statements correspond to your point of view? (closed-ended question, one answer, %)
  Total respondents Aged 18-24 25-34 35-44 45-59 60 and over
The state should prosecute people for their non-traditional orientation; it is necessary to combat homosexuality  41 34 37 37 42 53
The state should not be interested in the sexual orientation of people, and the people of non-traditional orientation should not be ostentatious 32 35 34 32 34 22
The state should recognize the rights of  people of non-traditional orientation and protect them against discrimination but not allow them to create families, adopt foster children or have a test tube baby 12 14 14 14 11 7
The state should recognize the right of  people of non-traditional orientation to create a family but not to adopt foster or test –tube children 3 4 4 4 2 2
The state should recognize the right of people of non-traditional orientation to create a family, including their right to adopt foster or test –tube children 3 5 4 5 2 2
Don`t know 9 7 7 8 9 14

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