According to the new research, published by the Centre for Comparative and Public Law, some 50.4 percent of Hong Kong residents surveyed in 2017 agreed that gay couples should have a right to marry if they want to. This marks a significant shift in public opinion, with the report also revealing that, in 2013, less than 40% of people in Hong Kong believed that same-sex marriages should be legalized. The research showed that, in 2017, 78 percent of those living in the autonomous territory said that the basic rights of LGBT people should be protected at least partly. Previously 75% of people believed so. Moreover, nearly seven in 10 people (69 percent) in Hong Kong said discrimination on the basis of sexuality should be illegal, in comparison to 58% in 2013. The research is based on the first ever survey to monitor public opinion about legal protections for gay people in Hong Kong. It was led by Holning Lau from the University of North Carolina, Charles Lau from RTI International, Kelley Loper from the University of Hong Kong, and Yiu-tung Suen from the Chinese University of Hong Kong.