Canadians and Americans Would Ban “Conversion Therapy”

Two thirds of Canadians and almost three-in-five Americans are in favour of same-sex couples being allowed to legally marry.

Vancouver, BC [December 4, 2020] – Most residents of Canada and the United States are in favour of abolishing the practice of “conversion therapy”, a new two-country Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of representative national samples, 56% of Canadians and Americans think “conversion therapy” should be banned in their respective countries.

Proponents of “conversion therapy” believe that individuals who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, gender diverse, queer, and Two-Spirit (LGBTQ2+) can be “converted” into heterosexuals through psychological or spiritual intervention.

More than half of Canadians (55%) and more than two-in-five Americans (45%) think “conversion therapy” is impossible—a proportion that rises to 58% among Canadian women and 51% among American women.

Two thirds of Canadians (67%) think same-sex couples should continue to be allowed to legally marry, up three points since a similar Research Co. poll conducted in July 2019

Conversely, 12% of Canadians think same-sex couples should only be allowed to form civil unions and not marry, and 10% would not offer any kind of legal recognition to same-sex couples.

Support for the continued legality of same-sex marriage in Canada is highest among women (70%) and Canadians aged 55 and over (71%). 

Canadians who voted for the New Democratic Party (NDP) and the Liberal Party in the 2019 federal election are more likely to support same-sex marriage (78% and 69% respectively) than those who cast ballots for the Conservative Party (56%).

Almost three-in-five Americans (57%) believe same-sex couples should continue to be allowed to legally marry, while 17% prefer the concept of civil unions and 16% would grant no legal recognition to same-sex partnerships.

In the United States, women (59%) and Americans aged 18-to-34 (62%) are more likely to endorse same-sex marriage. Majorities of those who identify as Democrats (68%) and Independents (58%) are also in favour of  same-sex marriage, compared to just 44% of Republicans.

The proportion of Americans who would not grant any legal recognition to same-sex partnerships climbs to 26% among Americans who supported Republican candidate Donald Trump in the 2020 United States presidential election, compared to 9% among those who voted for Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

In Canada, almost two-in-five respondents (39%) think people are born as LGBTQ2+, a view shared by 35% of Americans. However, 28% of Canadians and 34% of Americans think people choose to be LGBTQ2+.

Results are based on online studies conducted from November 14 to November 16, 2020, among representative samples of 1,000 adults in Canada and 1,200 adults in the United States. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian and U.S. census figures for age, gender and region in each country. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.1 percentage points for Canada and +/- 2.8 percentage points for the United States.

Find our data tables for Canada here, the data tables for the United States here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:

Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.