Attitudes to same-sex marriage

Parliament house flag post

Attitudes to same-sex marriage

Posted 17/11/2010 by Janet Phillips

The Federal Parliament is currently debating a motion on same-sex relationships moved by Adam Bandt—the recently elected Australian Greens party member for the seat of Melbourne. The motion notes there is ‘widespread support for equal marriage in the Australian community’ and calls on ‘all parliamentarians to gauge their constituents’ views on the issue of marriage equality’. As a result of this and other related debate, there is currently great interest in what public opinion polls may be able to tell us regarding changing attitudes towards same-sex marriage.

Not surprisingly, public opinion polls on this issue, as on any other, can differ markedly depending on the questions asked, the context and the survey reach—some may have been directly commissioned by interest groups, while others may reflect the views of particular geographic, demographic or socio-economic groups. However, the outcomes of several polls from a variety of groups conducted over the last six years or so may suggest a shift in public opinion in favour of same-sex marriage. The following is a very brief chronological listing of selected polls.

Opinion polls
Just published Roy Morgan Research survey data indicate that attitudes towards homosexuality and whether gay couples should be allowed to adopt children have become more liberal at a national level over the last 12 years. However, 'anti-gay sentiment remains entrenched in politically sensitive areas such as Sydney's west and south-west, pockets of Melbourne's south-east and in regional Queensland'. For more detail, including results by electorate, see: M Davis, 'Country divided as support for gay marriage varies wildly', Sydney Morning Herald, 15 November 2010; and 'The tricky political topography of same-sex marriage', website, 15 November 2010.

On its website, campaign organisation, Essential Media Communications, states it ‘exists to help the organisations we believe in win campaigns’. Their latest Essential Report, published on 15 November 2010, includes the results of a survey which found 53 per cent of respondents supported same-sex marriage. 

Same-sex marriage lobby group, Australian Marriage Equality, commissioned two Galaxy polls in 2009 and 2010. Their fact sheet, Marriage Equality and Public Opinion, summarises a selection of these and other poll results between 2004 and 2010. These poll results show an increase in support for same-sex marriage from around 40 per cent to about 60 per cent over the last six years. The October 2010 Australian Marriage Equality Same Sex Marriage Study found ‘the majority (62 per cent) of Australians agree that same-sex couples should be able to marry'.

In a poll published in the Sydney Morning Herald on 8 August 2009, 59.6 per cent answered 'yes' to the question, 'Should same-sex marriages be recognised by the Federal Government?'

In November 2009, the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee held an inquiry into the Marriage Equality Bill 2009. The final report stated: 'This bill recognises the increasing support for same-sex marriage in Australia, with opinion polls over the years showing a steady rise in support for marriage equality'.

In June 2007, a Galaxy Poll conducted on behalf of the GetUp lobby group found that 57 per cent of the 1100 people interviewed supported same-sex marriage while 37 per cent were opposed. See: M Schubert, ‘Public backs gay unions, equality’, The Age, 21 June 2007.

In June 2004, a survey conducted by Newspoll found 38 per cent of respondents in favour of same-sex marriage and 44 per cent against.

Image source: 'Sweden approves same-sex marriage legislation',

Thank you for your comment. If it does not require moderation, it will appear shortly.
Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Add | Email Print


Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament

Parliamentary Library Logo showing Information Analysis & Advice




refugees asylum immigration Parliament Australian foreign policy elections climate change social security women welfare reform taxation Indigenous Australians Australian Defence Force welfare policy school education higher education private health insurance health financing emissions trading Senate Australian Bureau of Statistics employment people trafficking Asia statistics Middle East illicit drugs gambling health reform federal election 2010 income management Medicare disability Sport United Nations industrial relations constitution transport Australian Public Service politics criminal law Afghanistan health forced labour environment aged care aid Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency World Anti-Doping Agency United States federal budget Carbon Pricing Mechanism dental health regulation food Fair Work Act voting law enforcement electoral reform public service reform OECD Australian Electoral Commission WADA child protection poker machines Australia in the Asian Century steroids National Disability Insurance Scheme detention 43rd Parliament slavery health system domestic violence parliamentary procedure International Women's Day accountability defence capability multiculturalism ASADA Australian Federal Police governance labour force people smuggling debt international relations New Zealand Australian Crime Commission pharmaceutical benefits scheme Human rights crime China leadership Census election results UK Parliament Papua New Guinea banking corruption pensions children's health Aviation federal election 2013 foreign debt gross debt net debt Senators and Members ALP Newstart Parenting Payment Youth Allowance sea farers Australian economy violence against women vocational education and training military history by-election political parties High Court skilled migration mental health Federal Court terrorist groups science social media Higher Education Loan Program HECS federal state relations youth paid parental leave same sex relationships coal seam gas customs planning doping health risks Gonski Review of Funding for Schooling sex slavery Special Rapporteur Northern Territory Emergency Response social policy Rural and regional trade unions Foreign affairs election timetable Indigenous royal commission Productivity United Kingdom firearms public policy Population ADRV terrorism transparency research and development welfare ASIO intelligence community Australian Security Intelligence Organisation carbon tax mining employer employee renewable energy regional unemployment fishing European Union family assistance United Nations Security Council forestry food labelling Drugs welfare systems Indonesia children Constitutional reform local government codes of conduct terrorist financing homelessness Parliamentary remuneration money laundering Trafficking in Persons Report energy social inclusion paternalism nutrition ODA Defence sitting days electoral divisions Southeast Asia administrative law universities TAFE Ireland citizenship asylum seekers early childhood education Canada Financial sector national security fuel disability employment Tasmania integrity standards NATO Australian Secret Intelligence Service sexual abuse World Trade Organization Australia public health housing affordability bulk billing water health policy Governor-General US economy export liquefied natural gas foreign bribery question time speaker superannuation public housing expertise climate Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry Pacific Islands reserved seats new psychoactive substances synthetic drugs UNODC carbon markets animal health middle class welfare constitutional recognition of local government referendum consumer laws PISA competition policy US politics language education baby bonus Leaders of the Opposition citizen engagement policymaking Australia Greens servitude Trafficking Protocol forced marriage alcohol entitlements ministries Hung Parliament social citizenship maritime Iran ANZUS regional students school chaplains federal budget 2011-12 salary Medicare Locals primary care Building the Education Revolution marine pollution sustainability prisons police deaths in custody electoral margins electoral pendulum electoral redistribution redistribution NSW redistribution WA redistribution ACT electoral boundaries ASEAN Sustainable Development Goals Double dissolution Senators safety vehicles MYEFO Pathology tertiary education Taiwan Xi Ma meeting family violence government financial advisers financial planners Financial System Inquiry Murray Inquiry China; Economic policy; Southeast Asia; Africa housing Speaker; House of Representatives; Parliament High Court; Indigenous; Indigenous Australians; Native Title ACT Indigenous education Norfolk Island External Territories emissions reduction fund; climate change child care funding refugees immigration asylum procurement Indigenous health e-voting internet voting nsw state elections 44th Parliament 2015 ABS Age Pension Death penalty capital punishment execution Bali nine Bali bombings Trade EU China soft power education Fiji India Disability Support Pension Antarctica Diplomacy by-elections state and territories Bills anti-corruption fraud bribery corporate ownership whistleblower G20 economic reform innovation Members of Parliament Scottish referendum Middle East; national security; terrorism social services Criminal Code Amendment (Misrepresentation of Age to a Minor) Bill 2013 online grooming sexual assault of minors ACT Assembly smoking plain packaging tobacco cigarettes Asia; Japan; international relations Work Health and Safety Migration; asylum seekers; regional processing China; United States; international relations fiscal policy Racial Discrimination Act; social policy; human rights; indigenous Australians Foreign policy Israel Palestine asylum refugees immigration political finance donations foreign aid Economics efficiency human rights; Racial Discrimination Act employment law bullying Animal law; food copyright Australian Law Reform Commission industry peace keeping contracts workplace policies same-sex marriage disorderly conduct retirement Parliament House standing orders prime ministers First speech defence budget submarines workers Somalia GDP world heritage political engagement leave loading Trade; tariffs; safeguards; Anti-dumping public interest disclosure whistleblowing Productivity Commission limitation period cancer gene patents genetic testing suspension of standing and sessional orders live exports infant mortality honorary citizen railways disciplinary tribunals standard of proof World Health Organisation arts international students skilled graduate visas temporary employment visas apologies roads Italy national heritage NHMRC anti-dumping Rent Assistance obesity evidence law sacrament of confession US presidential election international days DFAT UN General Assembly deregulation Regulation Impact Statements small business Breaker Morant regional engagement social determinants of health abortion Members suspension workplace health and safety marine reserves hearing Victoria astronomy resources sector YMCA youth parliament Korea rebate Australian Greens presidential nomination Racial Discrimination Act political parties preselection solar hot water Financial Action Taskforce Horn of Africa peacekeeping piracy Great Barrier Reef Stronger futures political financing political education Social Inclusion Board early childhood National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care Murray-Darling Basin sanctions Norway hospitals republic President Barack Obama Presidential visits qantas counselling Korean peninsula Work Choices biosecurity hendra environmental law federalism federation preselection therapeutic goods Therapeutic Goods Administration plebiscites computer games pests suicide nuclear COAG Ministerial Councils floods ADHD stimulant medication advertising electricity extradition conscience votes poverty preventative health rural health coastal erosion Parliamentary Budget Office work-life balance

Show all
Show less
Back to top