A prominent sociologist says despite growing public acceptance of homosexuality, Canadians are showing an increasing reluctance to extend equal rights to homosexuals. Reginald Bibby, a University of Lethbridge sociologist who has been surveying social trends for 25 years, said Canadians who agree that sexual relations between same-sex adults are “not wrong at all” has tripled from 14 per cent in 1975 to 44 per cent in 2000.
However, the number who say it’s “always” or “almost always wrong” has dropped from 70 per cent in 1985 to 40 per cent in 2000. Also, Canadians who support the idea that “homosexuals are entitled to the same rights as other Canadians” dropped from 81 per cent in 1990 to 70 per cent in 2000.
It should be noted that public approval of homosexuality has decreased slightly since the gay lobby has won a number of high-profile court cases which have infringed upon the rights of religious institutions and people of faith such as the Brockie case in Ontario and the Vriend case before the Supreme Court. It seems clear that while Canadians are willing to tolerate homosexuals and certainly do not want them to be mistreated (i.e. they shouldn’t be victims of violence or unreasonable discrimination in employment and housing), they are less open to giving their seal of approval to same-sex relationships by considering them equal to traditional marriage.