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WA supports marriage equality
A poll has found an unexpectedly high number of Western Australians support marriage equality.
The poll, carried out by Paterson Market Research on behalf of the West Australian newspaper, asked 400 people if they supported or opposed “allowing gay marriage”, with 61 percent saying they did, while six percent were undecided and 33 percent were opposed.
Among people under 35, 77 percent were supporters while only 16 percent were opposed.
Women were much more likely to support same-sex marriage, with 70 percent in favour while only 52 percent of men were supporters.
The only region where opponents outnumbered supporters was rural WA, where 48 percent were against compared to 46 in favour.
WA Greens MLC Giz Watson told the Star Observer the result was a surprise, but she felt the numbers reflected a growth in the number of heterosexual supporters.
But the party was not considering introducing a bill to legalise same-sex marriage under state law in WA as was happening in SA, Victoria and NSW.
“We’ve discussed it and it’s an interesting question in terms of tactics,” Watson said.
“In Western Australia, with advice from the gay and lesbian community, the passion is to push for changes at a federal level. We think that is achievable in a realistic time frame so in terms of lobbying effort and political effort we’ve decided to focus our attention there.”
Following the poll Labor Opposition Leader Eric Ripper called on the Barnett Government to establish a relationship registry — something the WA Greens would support.
“But I think a lot of people within the gay and lesbian community think it’s a distraction from the main game,” Watson said.
Australian Marriage Equality spokesman Peter Furness welcomed the Westpoll results which improved on those for Western Australia in a poll commissioned by AME carried out by Galaxy in October this year.
The Galaxy poll had found 59 percent support in WA and 62 percent nationally.
“There have been a number of polls now, not only by the West Australian but by other pollsters as well, which are all giving a similar figure — which is that almost twice as many people now support equal marriage than oppose it,” Furness said.
He said the low number of undecided voters, when compared to polling from five years ago, showed that when most people took the time to consider the debate they decided that marriage equality was a reasonable thing.