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Poll Shows More Aussies Want Equality for Same-Sex Couples

The GetUp! survey suggest the future trend will be towards greater support for equality.Today, GetUp! released the results of an explosive Galaxy poll demonstrating Australians’ widespread support for same sex couples’ rights. A commanding 71% of Australians agree that same-sex partners should have the same legal rights as de facto heterosexual couples, while only 23% disagreed. This represents a 3-1 margin in support.

‘Australians have made it clear that they oppose government discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation,’ said GetUp! Executive Director Brett Solomon. ‘We are far from the days when granting rights to same-sex couples was political suicide – instead, it is now electoral necessity.’

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Support for equal rights for gay couples is remarkably resilient across demographics, with majorities of every demographic agreeing that same-sex partners should have the same rights as heterosexual de facto couples. Remarkably, equal rights for same sex couples are supported by greater than a 2-to-1 margin even among Coalition voters (63% agree, 31% disagree).

‘Australians don’t want their gay friends and family to feel like second-class citizens,’ said Mr Solomon. ‘Why is it that when Australians favour equal rights for same-sex couples by more than a 3-to-1 margin, neither major party will give it to them?’

Among demographic categories, young people aged 16-24 (82% agree, 14% disagree) and women (80% agree, 15% disagree) are the most likely to support same sex equality. GetUp! will be launching a national email campaign in support of equality for same sex couples.

In addition, for the first time ever a majority of Australians support gay marriage – 57’% of Australians agree that same-sex couples should be able to marry. The right to marry also garners overwhelming support among younger voters, who are generally acknowledged as the key to this year’s federal election: 69% of those 16-24 and 72% of those 25-34 agree that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry, compared with only 27% of each group in disagreement.

‘This is about both major parties recognising the realities of a modern Australia – clearly the people already do – and legislating to reflect that. An important first step towards equality must be for the government to grant same sex couples de facto status,’ said Mr Solomon.

Although comparisons over time are difficult due to differences in exact wording, public sentiment appears to have shifted significantly over the past three years. In a 2004 Newspoll that asked, ‘Thinking now about gay marriages, that is same-sex marriages either between two men, or between two women. Are you personally in favour or against same sex couples being given the same rights to marry as couples consisting of a man and a woman?’ only 38% of Australians were in favour, with 44% against.

And just last year, when Newspoll asked whether respondents agreed or disagreed with the statement: ‘The federal government should introduce a new law that formally recognizes same-sex relationships,’ only a slim majority of 52% agreed, with 37% disagreeing.

GetUp! contracted National Galaxy Survey to conduct a survey of 1100 adults. Participants were asked two questions and results were as follows:

Question #1. Currently, same-sex partners do not have the same legal rights as heterosexual de facto partners in areas such as Medicare and superannuation. Do you agree or disagree that same sex partners should have the same legal rights as those in a heterosexual de facto relationship?

  • TOTAL: Agree 71% Disagree 23% Don’t Know 5%
  • HR Vote: ALP 77% 19% 4%
  • HR Vote: Coalition 63% 31% 6%
  • HR Vote: Green 84% 15% 1%
  • Sex: Male 62% 32% 6%
  • Sex: Female 80% 15% 5%
  • Age: 16-24 82% 14% 4%
  • Age: 25-34 78% 17% 4%
  • Age: 35-49 75% 21% 5%
  • Age: 50+ 60% 32% 8%

Question #2. Do you agree or disagree that same sex couples should be able to marry?

  • TOTAL: Agree 57% Disagree 37% Don’t Know 6%
  • HR Vote: ALP 63% 31% 6%
  • HR Vote: Coalition 43% 49% 8%
  • HR Vote: Green 77% 20% 3%
  • Sex: Male 48% 47% 6%
  • Sex: Female 65% 28% 7%
  • Age: 16-24 69% 27% 4%
  • Age: 25-34 72% 27% 2%
  • Age: 35-49 63% 32% 6%
  • Age: 50+ 39% 51% 10%

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