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One in three find homosexuality 'immoral'

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One in three find homosexuality 'immoral'

A new report says about 35 per cent of Australians believe homosexuality is immoral.

The Australia Institute interviewed 25,000 people over the age of 14 for the national study.

The study found Queensland and Tasmania are the states least accepting of homosexual behaviour.

The most tolerant areas include inner-city Melbourne, central Perth and central Melbourne.

Report author Michael Flood says 50 per cent of respondents from some country areas of Tasmania and Queensland believe homosexuality is immoral.

"It's partly about contact and exposure to gay and lesbian communities," Dr Flood said.

The study found those who studied at university were likely to be more tolerant.

Dr Flood found the least tolerant areas were north-western Tasmania, Queensland's south-west and the Moreton area, excluding the Gold Coast.

"What's going on there, it's partly about city versus rural areas, it's partly about age," he said.

"We find that people who are younger, people in city areas and women in particular are less likely to believe that homosexuality is immoral."

The research also shows Australian Catholics are the most tolerant of homosexuality compared with any other religious group.

Among the religious groups, Baptists were the least tolerant, with 68 per cent of respondents saying they thought homosexuality was immoral.

However, Dr Flood says only 34 per cent of Catholics shared the same point of view.

"Catholics were the least likely of any religious group to agree with the idea that homosexuality is immoral," he said.

"What that suggests to us in fact is that those people who are sort of Catholics in Australia and appear to the Catholic faith don't necessarily agree with the doctrines on homosexuality, which the institution itself, the church, offers," he said.

Jen Van-Achteren from the Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group says it is a surprise that Catholics are the most tolerant religious group, given the conservative views of church leaders like the Archbishop of Sydney, George Pell.

"Based on the Pope's comments and also George Pell's, I actually found it a little surprising," she said.

© 2005 Australian Broadcasting Corporation

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