Poll shows approval for marriage equality at all time high
A new poll by Crosby|Textor research has revealed support for marriage equality is across the board in most Australian households, with 72 percent of those polled approving of marriage equality.
Crosby Textor also showed that even those people polled that were opposed to the reform supported a free vote on the issue.
The results are part of a nationwide telephone survey of 1,000 randomly selected Australians, in which attitudes towards allowing same-sex couples to legally marry were assessed.
The poll was commissioned by Australian Marriage Equality (AME) and shows support for the issue has risen since Nielsen last asked the question in 2013 and year-on-year since the question was first posed in 2004.
Almost three-quarters of Australians (72%) now support legalising same-sex marriage, including around half (48%) ‘strongly supporting’ it. Only a fifth (21%) opposed this to any degree with those strongly oppose diminishing in numbers to 14%.
The national director of AME, Rodney Croome, said, “With Australians across all key demographics supporting marriage equality in record numbers, it's fair to say the public has made up its mind, the community debate is over, and it's time for politicians to act.”
Croome said AME will be using the research to work with government members who have yet to declare support for reform, to show them “they have nothing to fear”.
Mark Textor of Crosby|Textor said, “The fact that nearly three-quarters of Australians support allowing gay couples to marry is exciting in itself – rarely do you get such a clear-cut endorsement. But the really exciting part for me is the long-term trend; support rising steadily from just 38% when Newspoll first posed the question a decade ago.”
Textor described the trend as s seismic shift in public attitudes. “Almost everyone agrees that this is the right thing to do and there is no need to have a grand fight on this issue.”
Textor also said the poll showed overwhelming support for a conscience vote.
“The same poll found that just over three-quarters (77%) of those surveyed also support a conscience vote on this issue, including a majority (61%) of those opposed to same-sex marriage.”
Rodney Croome found the results encouraging, saying, “‘Even a majority of those opposed to marriage equality agree that their elected members should be free to make their own decision rather than follow a party line. It's time to let politicians do what the public clearly wants.”
Shelley Argent National Spokesperson for Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays thanked Australians for their support for the LGBTI commnity’s quest for equality and inclusion.
Argent said the poll showed it was time the Prime Minister Tony Abbott followed suit and allowed his party a conscience vote.
“Mr Abbott's views on this issue are not in keeping with most Australians and its time he acted and permitted a conscience vote. We live in a democracy and Mr Abbott can always vote negatively, but it's time he loosened the reins and allowed same sex couples the same opportunities and privileges as their straight peers,” Argent said.
Mr Abbott talks about giving people a "fair go"; here is an opportunity to pass legislation that will cost this country zero dollars, but provide respect and dignity to our same sex attracted sons and daughters which money and power cannot buy.”
The poll results come hot on the heels of Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm's announcement that he would push for a marriage equality bill in Parliament.
Leyonhejelm siad blocking gay marriage was a bizarre misapropriation of power.
“It is not the job of governments to define relationships. For those of you who have a problem with homosexuality for some reason or another, we are not asking for your approval. I ask merely for your tolerance."
The survey’s research also revealed:
A majority of those identifying with major religions supported marriage equality, including Catholics, Anglicans and non-Christian religions.
A majority of older Australians (aged 55 years or over) supported marriage equality.
A majority in all states and regions across Australia including Western Sydney and regional Queensland.
A majority of (heterosexual) people already in a marriage supported marriage equality.
A majority of people with children supported marriage equality.