Italians and Gay People: The Right to be Different 2003

Eurispes was the first to tackle homosexuality through an in-depth study carried out in collaboration with Arcigay in 1991, with “Il sorriso di Afrodite” (Aphrodite’s Smile) study.

In 2003 Eurispes presented a new study enriched by a survey on the evolution of Italians’ experiences and attitudes towards homosexuality. The study on Italians’ attitudes towards homosexuality involved a sample of 2,000 citizens, stratified by sex, age and geographical origin. According to the survey, 49.2% of Italians now believe that homosexuality is a form of love, just like heterosexuality. On the other hand, a significant 32.8% (almost one third) of the respondents say they can tolerate homosexuality as long as it is not practised, while 10.3% consider homosexuality immoral. Finally, 7.7% were unable or unwilling to express an opinion on this matter. In particular, citizens’ positions were polled on two of the most important issues debated in recent years in Italy and abroad: the possibility for homosexual couples to marry in a civil ceremony and adopt children. In our Country, both measures have not yet been approved. There is only a draft law for recognising civil unions, but the debate on the subject is very heated. The majority (51.6%) believes that same-sex couples also have the right to marry in a civil ceremony if they so wish. The proportion of those against is, in any case, substantial (41.7%), while those who are uncertain or prefer not to take a stand are 6.7%. Thus, the results show that the population is strongly divided on this issue: many people are against marriage between gay couples, but most Italians seem ready to recognise this right. As for the hypothesis of offering same-sex couples the possibility of adopting children, the answers show a very different attitude towards civil marriage between gay couples. A clear majority (63.4%) is against, 27% are in favour, 9.6% do not know or do not want to say. But how many gay people are there in Italy? According to the most recent estimates, there are about five million. Finally, it should be noted that the negative attitude towards gay sometimes borders on homophobia, which has not yet been eradicated. Between 1990 and 2003, 119 gay people were murdered. In all cases, the root cause is hatred and contempt for gay people, a homophobic culture that leads to persecution of a minority that is hated and still has no civil rights.


The path of gay pride
Italians’ attitudes towards homosexuality
Relationships with others
Social changes: the new attention towards the gay community
The legislative situation and gay people claims

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Italians’ attitudes towards homosexuality: public opinion divided down the middle on marriage and adoptions

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