That shift is in line with international trends, said Kelley Loper, an associate professor at the University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law who was involved in running the survey.
“Hong Kong is an international, cosmopolitan city, so it’s not surprising that views are becoming more progressive over time,” she said.
Public opinion in Hong Kong has been influenced by a court ruling in Taiwan last year that could make it the first place in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage, said Waiwai Yeo, a spokeswoman for the Les Corner Empowerment Association, a Hong Kong group that advocates equal rights for female sexual minorities.
Local events like the Hong Kong Pride Parade and Pink Dot have also shaped public opinion, Ms. Yeo said, as has the greater publicity surrounding openly gay celebrities like the Hong Kong actor Vinci Wong, who came out in 2013 and married his boyfriend in 2016.
But strong opposition to gay rights remains in what is in many ways a conservative society. Last month, a Hong Kong group said it had successfully petitioned the government to remove children’s books that discuss same-sex parenting and related themes from the main stacks of public libraries.
Ten books, with titles like “Mommy, Mama, and Me,” “Daddy, Papa, and Me” and “The Boy in the Dress,” were moved to closed stacks, where people can get access to them only by asking librarians, according to the group, the Family School Sexual Orientation Discrimination Ordinance Concern Group.
Ms. Yeo noted that while almost 70 percent of respondents in the Hong Kong University poll favored a law against discrimination based on sexual orientation, the government had not moved to establish one. Hong Kong was chosen to hold the Gay Games in 2022, but it could end up being the first host city where same-sex marriage is not recognized.