A recent study by researchers at the University of Melbourne, and the University at Albany, found that in general, people are more likely to agree with the proposition that same-sex marriage is an issue that has nothing to do with marriage.
“The general consensus in the US, and in Australia and the UK, is that same sex marriage is not an issue related to marriage,” Professor Simon Callaghan, who led the study, said.
“It’s a topic that we are seeing increasingly recognised as a legitimate public issue.”
The research, which looked at data from nearly 100,000 Australians, looked at opinions about same-sex marriage from 2012 to 2017.
It found that the majority of people (69 per cent) believed same- sex marriage should be legal in Australia.
“In the US this was a much larger proportion, at 80 per cent,” Professor Callaghan said.
While the majority (53 per cent), also in Australia, believed same sex couples should have the right to marry, there was a large minority (18 per cent).
“It seems to be that this is not necessarily because of the views of the people who are saying that marriage is a matter of family, it’s because of what they believe the issues around marriage are,” he said.
Professor Callaghan and his colleagues asked people the following question: “I am interested in understanding what is the position of the general Australian public, as a whole on the issue of same-gender marriage.
Do you agree or disagree with the statement, ‘Marriage is not a matter that is related to a man and a woman having a child’?”
The survey found that 55 per cent of people agreed that samesex marriage should not be legal, while 47 per cent disagreed.
“So, there’s this general consensus, but there are also people who think it is a non-issue that has absolutely nothing to with marriage,” he explained.
“There are also the people whose view is that marriage has nothing in it.”‘
Marriage has nothing’There are two main points that this study highlights, Professor Callagher said.
First, the vast majority of Australians do not agree with same- gender marriage.
“The reason for that is because they don’t see it as a matter involving marriage, and secondly, they don, to a greater or lesser extent, also agree that same gender marriage should have nothing to it,” he added.
“That’s a pretty significant difference.”‘
I’m not a straight guy, I’m a lesbian”Professor Callagher also said the study highlights a major divide in the community when it comes to understanding the views on the matter.
“One of the things that’s been a point of contention between LGBT people and the straight community, is the fact that they think they are in a minority, but actually it’s a huge minority,” he told ABC News.
He said the fact this was not discussed on the ABC’s Q&A program, despite the fact LGBT Australians make up around a quarter of the population, could be down to the fact the public does not understand the issues surrounding same- sexual relationships.””
So, for example, if I’m talking to a straight friend of mine and I tell them that they are very much in the minority, I can probably get away with saying ‘Oh, they’re right, but I’m not gay’ because they know I’m saying that.”
He said the fact this was not discussed on the ABC’s Q&A program, despite the fact LGBT Australians make up around a quarter of the population, could be down to the fact the public does not understand the issues surrounding same- sexual relationships.
“I’m going to say this.
I think it’s an incredibly significant distinction that’s going to exist when it’s time to get into the policy debate,” he noted.”
You’ve got people saying ‘I’m a straight man, I don’t know, but it’s wrong for me to marry a woman’, and that is not going to be seen as a position that’s relevant to marriage.
It’s a position in which marriage is concerned.”