Who cares about gay marriage?

I haven't polled on the gay marriage issue, but plenty of others have and it would appear that the majority of Australians favour it, so I was surprised to receive a media release from the Australian Christian Lobby claiming overwhelming opposition.

The ACL release was based on the members of parliament who reported back to parliament today on research they conducted in their electorates.

Out of the 30 MPs who spoke, 18 opposed gay marriage. And there was some hard evidence presented.

According to the release:

..For example, in the Federal seat of Hinkler Paul Neville reported support for marriage staying the same was 595 to 14; in the seat of Dawson George Christensen reported 456 to 78; in the seat of O’Connor the member Tony Crook reported 523 to 115; in Deakin the member Mike Symon reported 1015 to 65, in Blair the member Shayne Neumann reported 580 to 115; in Cook Scott Morrison reported 850 to 50; in the seat of Cowan the member Luke Simpkins reported 903 to 103 and in Fowler the member Chris Hayes said 90 per cent of his electorate supported marriage.

These would appear to be straw polls so are of very uncertain provenance, however the numbers are overwhelming, and while some come from obviously conservative areas, a number of the seats are Labor as well.

So why do these vary so much from the scientific polls?

Part of the discrepancy might be in the way that the questions are worded.

But it also may be an issue of how strongly motivated voters are by the issue. This is supported by the fact that the online newspaper polls appear to be closer than the properly randomised ones.

So while the professional pollsters are accurately measuring the response you get when you ask a random sample of Australians, what they aren't capturing is whether these people care very much about the issue at all.

When a straw poll goes up online, people opt-in, and those with the strongest interest are more likely to opt in. So in this case, what the parliamentarians' research is telling them is that while a whole lot of people think same-sex marriage a good idea, most of them are not interested in it as a voting issue.

Those who are interested in it as a voting issue are in general more likely to be opposed.

Which explains why both the major political parties are opposed to it, despite the media portraying it as being overwhelmingly popular. Seats could be at play if they weren't.


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0 #21 Allow those Gays who want it, to have a Sandra 2011-10-04 23:28
Allow those Gays who want it, to have a "Civil Union" and leave "Marriage" to a man and woman as it has always been. That should allow them their recognition, protection and legal standing and if that is the real basis for their grievances, then that should put an end to all this public shouting of homophobia.
0 #22 @Mark Wagner Et Al, the debate highlightPrivate Citizen 2011-10-05 00:10
@Mark Wagner Et Al, the debate highlights to me that many opposed to same sex marraige, are simply opposed to anything same sex. The bile, and hatred, that flows is truly disgusting, definitelty not WWJD.

So I would suggest that the question could be 1. do you support same sex marriage? 2. Do you support civil unions for same sex relationships 3. do you support efforts to remove discrimination on the basis of sexuality? that would seperate the issue of Marraige from those opposed to homosexuality.

many are fighting over the definition in the Marraige Act. A definition that was only changed in 2004 when Howard decided to wedge Latham while blocking recognition of overseas marraiges. Because it was a nonissue back then as well, that happened to justify the need for an amendment.

Recently when the Aboriginals supported 40 years since the referendum that recognised them as citizens. I was shocked to realise although I was over 40, I only became a legal member of society at the age of 16, when homosexuality was decriminalised in 1984 (NSW), and federally at the age of 26, when parliament had to act to decriminalise homosexuality on the basis of a right to privacy.

Many see same sex marraige as not a priority, i admit it i am in no hurry to marry. But I understand those who do want to get married legally. Every childs tale indoctrinates marraige as an ideal expression of love and commitment.

I dont think anyone should live their entire one and only life being denied equalilty as an Australian citizen. Having being denied legal recognition for the first 26 years of my life I can assure you of its importance.
0 #23 I wonder who has been polled (one can reSerge 2011-10-05 06:13
I wonder who has been polled (one can really maniputlate research simply by choose a certain target audience or demographic). I work in the health sector (an area where people tend to have less conservative views) and the only people who seem to be pro gay marriage are a few aged under 25 or gay people.
I am opposed to gay marriage as I believe a marriage is not only a public affirmation of one's love (one can do that in any number of civil ceremonies/unio ns) but the preferred precursor to having a family.
I am also against any type of adoption outside of marriage (as we understand th term to mean today...between a man and a woman)because I believe having children is a privilege and a responsibility NOT a right, and that a child needs 'mum (female)love' as well as 'dad (male) love...because, hey, men and woman ARE different, 'mum love' is different to 'dad love', and kids need both. Let's put the kids' rights first!
0 #24 Oh, having read a few more comments, andSerge 2011-10-05 06:39
Oh, having read a few more comments, and just for the record, my aforementined views have nothing to do with the issue of homosexuality, gay-ness, sexual orientation or whatever other term is PC these days. Gay people can live together, get tax breaks and should have all the rights of any body else who is in a longstanding partner relationship..a nd if they are missing out on any rights that heterosexual couples (married or unmarried) have, then that should be redressed.
My perspective is from the point of view of definition (what is (a) marriage) and particularly from the point of view of children....tho se who truly have no voice in this debate (ethically and practically impossible but I wonder what children would respond to if asked what they would rather: two male parents, two female parents, a single parent of either gender or a mum and dad, and sorry for those who will think that the terms 'mum' and 'dad' are unfairly emotive but what would two same-gender parents be referred as (two dads...two mum...a mum and a dad...interchan geable mum and dad - one is mum one week and dad the next?).
Oh, and whlst I've met plenty of bigotted, self-important, self-opinionate d Christians (and non-?Christians for that matter), and, as I believe, a fairly objective peruser of the Australian media, it seems to me that on this page of comments, and in the media and public arena generally, that the bullying and hatred, vile and invective is mostly directed against Christians rather than by them (though of course every group will have it's looney fringe).
0 #25 @serge if your beliefs on adoption wouldPrivate Citizen 2011-10-05 09:20
@serge if your beliefs on adoption would be implemented then many children would never get a home. Many children are raised in single parent families and huge numbers of children are fostered by single parents, such as grand mothers. According to ABS over 1.5 million Australians live in a one parent family. (abs.gov.au/.../...

I agree marraige and child raising is a privilege. A privilege that too many heterosexuals take for granted. Many achieve the goal and then disrepect it through Adultery or neglect. They are allowed to do it again and again and again.

Being denied the privilege, being told that I am not worthy, while watching the "privileged" disregard, disrespect and neglect their partners and children just adds further insult to injury.

From my point of view, these inequalities discount my existence, discount my contribution. Yet they take my tax dollars to put your kids through school, even to schools that promote hostility and intolerance towards me. You want me to share the burden but not the privileges.

It is heartening that the youth of today are increasingly more accepting. They have watched the world and the arguments. They have seen through the hypocrisy. One day soon Australia may become an accepting society without ever acheiving its touted title as a tolerant society.
0 #26 The reporting back that the MPs did was Wayne D 2011-10-05 11:40
The reporting back that the MPs did was influenced by the religious right who encouraged the flocks to write to their MPs. That biased the results. While at the same time most Australians couldn't care about same sex marriage and didn't bother to contact their MP's.

Sheila - you use religion to justify your opinions - that's what's wrong with our country. Too much irrelevant religion being used to justify inequality.

Meg77 - only a very tiny percentage of the gay community engages in sex acts in public and the rest of us shouldn't be demonised because of it. Get the police to arrest them. That's what the law is for. And you equate gay with pedophile. Most pedophilia is heterosexual and occurs in the family.

Lil J - your bigotry is showing - badly

What it comes down to is EQUALITY. We pay the same amount of taxes yet we do not have full equality; and civil unions while a step in the right direction are still less than equal. I want to be able to say to my partner - will you marry me - not will you civil union me.

And with nearly half of all marriages ending in divorce - clearly marriage means bugger all to people these days.
0 #27 Gay marriage, straight marriage, ... welsweet choc 2011-10-05 23:08
Gay marriage, straight marriage, ... well who cares about how other people conduct their lives as long as they are law abiding, caring individuals. As a staunch Christian, my teacher is Christ who advocated love, humility and caring for each other. To hell with the men who came after to impose their personal, bigoted views & interpretations on the rest of us. Their desire to subjugate women and others who are different is well known. If gays want a marriage, I am all for that!
0 #28 Serge wrote: "I am opposed to gay marriaThe Coach 2011-10-06 16:06
Serge wrote: "I am opposed to gay marriage as I believe a marriage is not only a public affirmation of one's love (one can do that in any number of civil ceremonies/unio ns) but the preferred precursor to having a family."
My wife and I were way beyond child-bearing age when we married, but we have been blissfully happy for three years. But by Serge's argument ours should not be called a marriage as there was no possibility of a family.
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