New research released by the University of Queensland has found more than 50 percent of gay, lesbian and bisexual people want the option of marriage to recognise their relationships.

Not So Private Lives, the first national study of its kind, also found more than half of same-sex attracted women over 34 years old have children in their lives and a high number want to ‘tie the knot’.

Lead researcher Sharon Dane told Sydney Star Observer the findings showed how the gay and lesbian community feels about marriage since being granted de facto rights last year.

“At the time we did the survey [the question] was … now that we’ve got de facto recognition do people still think it’s important to have marriage and to what extent is this important?

“I think for me as researcher, one of the most interesting parts was the more people saw their relationships being valued on an equivalent level with heterosexual relationships, the greater their level of wellbeing.

“We also found that people who perceived to be more accepted by their friends and family and the community also reported being in longer relationships.”

More than 54 percent of participants said marriage was their first “personal choice” for relationship recognition, followed by a federally recognised relationship registration scheme (27.6 percent) and de facto status (14.8 percent). Only 2.9 percent said they preferred no legal status.

The study of 2032 people across Australia also showed both men and women under the age of 25 said they eventually planned to have children.

More women (58 percent) than men (50 percent) said they would favour marriage and younger participants were the most likely to choose marriage as their most preferred type of relationship recognition.

Dane said the research highlights the fact the gay and lesbian community overwhelmingly supports marriage.
“There are a lot of people who oppose [same-sex] marriage… and sometimes they use the argument that most people think same-sex couples don’t want marriage. This shows that is not that case.”

The study also proves the desire for marriage is strong in gay and lesbian people with children.

Over 74 percent of those caring for children under the age of 13 said they would like to marry with the figure rising to 80 percent for those with children under five.

Dane said the research shows laws preventing same-sex couples marrying flies in the face of arguments that it is not in line with the best interests of children.

“This message being sent to these young children is actually a negative and hurtful one or [could] be, because it implies the people they rely on for love and protection are not capable of providing this.

“If the best interest of the children is at heart, then validating their parents’ relationship should be a priority.”

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