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(07/07/09) -

Australians Favour Same-Sex Marriage

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – Most people in Australia think couples of the same gender should be allowed to marry in their country, according to a poll by Galaxy. 59 per cent of respondents share this point of view, while 36 per cent disagree.

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – Most people in Australia think couples of the same gender should be allowed to marry in their country, according to a poll by Galaxy. 59 per cent of respondents share this point of view, while 36 per cent disagree.

In August 2004, under the mandate of conservative Australian prime minister John Howard, Australia amended the legal definition of marriage as being "exclusively between a man and a woman", effectively preventing gay and lesbian couples from getting married. Tasmania and Victoria are currently the only Australian states that allow unwed and same-sex couples to enter registered partnerships and receive limited rights.

The current government, headed by Kevin Rudd of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) supports rights for same-sex couples, but not same-sex marriage. Some discrimination laws against homosexuals were scrapped in 2008, but none of them were related to same-sex marriage.

Last month, Green party senator Sarah Hanson-Young introduced the Marriage Equality Amendment 2009. The bill seeks to provide same-sex couples with the same marriage rights of heterosexual couples, and recognize same-sex unions registered abroad. Hanson-Young urged her colleagues to pass the bill, saying, "It’s well and truly time our Parliament (…) legislates for true equality."

Same-sex marriage is currently legal in the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway and Sweden. At least 20 countries offer some form of legal recognition to same-sex unions.

Polling Data

Do you agree or disagree that same-sex couples should be able to marry in Australia?

Agree

59%

Disagree

36%

Not sure

5%

Source: Galaxy
Methodology: Telephone interviews with 1,100 Australian adults, conducted from May 29 to May 31, 2009. No margin of error was provided.