London Least Tolerant UK Region of Gay Couples, ‘Religious Differences’ Blamed

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Londoners are the least likely regional group in the UK to be relaxed with pre-marital sex and homosexuality, with researchers blaming “religious differences” for the discrepancy with the rest of the country.

The findings were revealed in a study by the British Social Attitudes survey, published Wednesday, and conducted for the Trust for London.

The capital is 12.4 percent Muslim, the highest proportion in the UK, with the average being 4.8 percent across England and Wales. London also has the lowest proportion of Christians, with less than half following the country’s traditional religion, the study says.

As a result, just 73 percent of the city’s residents say that pre-marital sex is rarely or never wrong and just 67 percent say the same about homosexuality.

The low level of tolerance compared to the rest of the country is despite the city having the highest number of same-sex couples in the country, the researchers point out, saying the city’s social conservatism is “largely driven by religious factors”.

“Controlling for religion, a factor significantly correlated with views towards pre-marital sex, differences between London and other regions became statistically non-significant,” the paper says.

The report adds: “The one exception was the South, where individuals were 14 percentage points more likely to have a tolerant view towards pre-marital sex even after accounting for religion.”

Indeed, the region which has the most “liberal” views on sex and sexuality was predominantly rural Wales, where 93 percent believed premarital sex was rarely or never wrong and 74 percent were fine with homosexuality. Coincidentally, Wales also has the highest proportion of residents in any British region that were born in the United Kingdom.

The city, however, is also very “liberal” in some areas, with Londoners “least likely to be on the authoritarian end of the liberal-authoritarian scale… and were most likely to fall on the liberal end of the spectrum compared with other regions in Britain.”

“Analysis of social liberalism among Londoners revealed something of a paradox,” researchers conclude.

Londoners, along with Scots, were also more likely to fall on the pro-welfare end of the scale, as well as being more left-wing. In another glaring contradiction, despite being the region that believed itself to be the most politically engaged, it was also the area where people were least likely to vote in the Brexit referendum.

In the city, 38 percent believe benefits to be too high along with 43 percent of Scots. This compares with between 48 percent and 54 percent in other regions.


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