The Stonewall press release says:
Many faith leaders inadequately reflect their followers’ religious objections to lesbian and gay sexuality, new research has found. Love Thy Neighbour – published today by Stonewall and based on interviews with Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Christian participants from across the north of England – found that many hold significantly more moderate views of homosexuality than is often claimed on their behalf. Participants suggested to researchers from the University of Leeds that when the perceived tension between faith and sexual orientation is discussed in public, the agenda often becomes so dominated by aggression and sensationalism that levels of respect between faith communities and gay communities are overlooked.
Ben Summerskill, Stonewall Chief Executive, said: ‘Witnessing the saddening divisions in the Church of England demonstrated at this week’s Lambeth Conference, it’s telling that so many people of faith say they actually live, work and socialise with lesbian and gay people, and that significantly reduces negative ideas about difference. Many Christians, Jews, Muslims and Hindus are clearly markedly more moderate that we are often allowed to believe. The stark conclusion to draw when it comes to religion and homosexuality is that it may be time to start listening to the voices of the many people of faith in Britain which have until now not been heard enough.’
Interviewees suggested that new legal protections for lesbian and gay people, including civil partnership, have had a ‘civilising effect’ on British society. The increased acceptance of gay people on a national and political level has also had a positive impact on attitudes at a local level, they said. This confirms the findings of Living together, a YouGov survey of 2,000 people published by Stonewall in 2007, which found that 84 per cent of people who identified as religious disagreed with the statement ‘homosexuality is morally unacceptable in all circumstances.’
Ruth has made the full report available here. It’s a 200K PDF.