GAY PEOPLE DIVIDED OVER SAME-SEX MARRIAGE
The first ever professionally-conducted poll of gay people’s attitudes to same-sex marriage has revealed widespread indifference to the Government’s proposal. Only 39 per cent think redefining marriage is a priority for gay people , only half say it is important to them personally, while just over one in four (27%) say they would get married if the law permitted it.
The poll reveals deep suspicion among gay people about David Cameron’s motives (fewer than one in five believe the Prime Minister is backing the move out of conviction) while fewer than half accept Stonewall’s argument that a legal distinction between civil partnerships and same-sex marriage perpetuates discrimination.
The online poll by ComRes for Catholic Voices surveyed 541 adults between 17 April and 20 May who describe themselves as gay/lesbian or bisexual. This is the first detailed study of gay peoples’ attitudes to the Government’s plans to redefine marriage. Among its most significant findings:
• More than a quarter (26%) believe there is no need to change the law on marriage because civil partnerships give the same rights, while fewer than half agree with Stonewall’s view that not allowing same-sex marriage worsens public attitudes to gay people.
• Almost half believe “David Cameron is only trying to extend marriage to LGBT people to make his party look more compassionate rather than because of his convictions”, while only 19% disagree.
• More than two-thirds (77%) of gay people disagree that marriage should be only between a man and a woman, and the same number (72%) believe “marriage is more about love between two people than it is about rearing children”.
• But only half (50%) of the LGB population think it is important to extend marriage to same-sex couples, while just over one in four (27%) would marry their partner if the law allowed it – just one percentage point more than those not in a civil partnership who would seriously consider one.
ComRes first asked respondents to self-identify according to sexual orientation, before going on to ask the 5 per cent who self-described as gay, lesbian, bisexual or other a series of questions about marriage as an institution, same-sex marriage and civil partnerships. The percentage of people self-identifying as gay was higher than the 2010 ONS Integrated Household Survey, (which recorded 1.5 per cent of the UK’s population, or 726,000 people, as gay). The higher proportion in the ComRes poll may reflect that fact that online polls tend to attract younger, urban populations where numbers of openly gay people are higher.
ComRes surveyed a representative sample of 541 adults from 27 April to 20 May 2012 who self-identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual or other non-heterosexual. Data were weighted to be representative demographically of the wider GB adult population. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.