A new poll on same-sex marriage, conducted by the Sexton Marketing Group for Sydney's Ambrose Centre for Religious Liberty, has delved into the complexities of the marriage debate to show that popular support for same-sex marriage is not as great as many have made out.
The poll, Public Attitudes Towards Same Sex Marriage in Australia, found that only 27 per cent of the people surveyed believed same-sex marriage to be a very important issue. This was much less than concern for more pressing issues such as healthcare and cost of living pressures.
The poll also found that fewer than half of all Australians (49%) supported changing the Marriage Act at this time. Over a third of those people (35%) believe that we shouldn’t rush into this change “without knowing the social impact, especially on children”.
Other significant findings include:
- 69% of people believe that “Marriage between a man and a woman and them having children together is an important social institution and we should uphold marriage and its traditional meaning”; and,
- 73% people believe, “Where possible, as a society we should try to ensure that children are raised by their natural mother and father, and promote this”.
While the poll, like some before it, show a majority of Australians hold in principle support for same-sex marriage, the high regard for marriage as the basis of the natural family, and concern for the wellbeing of children, demonstrate some conflict in the way people think on this issue.
This situation is explained in the poll analysis: “These results suggest that many people hold simultaneous but contradictory beliefs, which might explain why there is not a strong consensus one way or the other in the Australian population on this issue”.
Given the emotive and often vitriolic nature of the debate, it was not surprising to see that “24% of those opposed to same sex marriage have felt pressure to remain silent” on the issue.
The fact that the debate has not taken place on a level playing field may also go some way to explaining why so many people hold contradictory views, or are confused about the effects of same-sex marriage.