Surveys show that some people across the world believe that same-sex relationships are crimes.

According to a 2017 Ilga-Riwi global attitudes survey of 77 countries and territories, more than one in four people believe people who are in same sex relationships should be criminalized.   

The statistics show that 45 percent of people in the 15 African countries said those who have same-sex relationships should be charged as criminals, followed by 36 percent of respondents in the Middle East, 19 percent of participants in North America (the US and Canada combined), South America and western Europe and 15 percent of respondents from Australia and New Zealand.

What is even more shocking of these findings is there are still people that think same-sex relationships should be punished in some areas where decriminalization of gay people has already been dismantled.

One in six people in the UK, where homosexuality has been decriminalised for 50 years, agreed that “romantic or sexual relationships with people of the same sex” should be criminalized.

“It is worrying that these attitudes towards criminalisation hover around the 20 [percent] mark in many developed countries,” said lead survey researcher and co-author of the report, Aengus Carroll.

Carroll goes on to mention how most of these sentiments might be correlated to what people associate with being gay, such as “darker things like paedophilia.”

Correlations were also seen in locations where homosexual activity is already criminalized, with a majority of those respondents (42 percent) thinking people in these relationships should be charged as criminals.

“The law of the land affects the attitudes of people in the land,” said Carroll. “In repressive states where there are repressive laws, attitudes of the public are affected by the laws and this is very clear in this data.”

Despite the negative findings there are also some positive takeaways from this survey. Specifically, looking at the beliefs of religious people and their view on same-sex relationships.

For example, in Africa, 43 percent of respondents said they could be accepting of homosexuality while respecting their religion, shining light on the idea that people can dissociate from religion, despite popular beliefs.

“This data is really surprising on that level in that it shows us the huge level of people who feel they can have respect for their religion and be accepting.”