A new poll showing about 60 percent of Australian support for same-sex marriage has prompted a new push for changes to the Federal Marriage Act.
The Greens will next week introduce a private member’s bill to alter the Act so it no longer outlaws gay marriage.
Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said, with changing community attitudes, same-sex marriage deserved to be put back on the parliamentary agenda.
-œWe have to keep raising this as the Achilles heel in the Government’s agenda of equality and keep pushing for real change and rights for everyone, Hanson-Young told Southern Star.
-œThere’s no reason, when we’ve got poll results that clearly show the majority of Australians support gay marriage, they can continue with their spin that somehow they can’t move forward because they wouldn’t have community support -” it’s clearly wrong.
Commissioned by Australian Marriage Equality, national marriage rights group Equal Love, and supported by Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, the poll of 1100 Australians showed overwhelming support for same-sex marriage.
AME national convenor Peter Furness said the results were a clear indication the Australian public was more progressive than the Rudd Government on the issue.
-œThe single reason left to the Government to justify opposition to same-sex marriage is that there isn’t support within the community, Furness said.
-œThis poll shows there is support and it’s now impossible for the Government to justify this excuse.
-œIt scuttles the only rationale put forward by the Rudd Government for opposing equality, namely that a majority of Australians believe marriage should only be between a man and a woman.
Those surveyed were asked whether they agree or disagree same-sex couples should be able to marry in Australia, with 60 percent saying they supported equal marriage rights; 36 percent in opposition and 4 percent undecided.
Of those supporting same-sex marriage, 68 percent of respondents who agreed with same-sex marriage were women and 53 percent men.
In the political spectrum, 82 percent of Greens voters, 64 percent of Labor voters and 50 percent of Coalition voters supported same-sex marriage.
PFLAG national president Shelley Argent said the poll was proof Australians wanted the children of gay and lesbian couples to be afforded the same respect as children of heterosexual couples.
-œWe want to see the relationships of our gay and lesbian children given the same rights and respect as their straight siblings, she said.
The poll comes out ahead of the ALP’s national conference. Protesters plan to use the conference to push the party on its stance on same-sex marriage and civil unions.
-œWe call on delegates to the conference to reflect the fairness and good sense of ordinary Australians by endorsing equal marriage, Furness said.
Ongoing polls showed a growing acceptance for same-sex marriage. A 2008 Queensland Galaxy poll showed 54 percent support for gay marriage, while a 2007 polls showed 57 percent of Australians supported gay marriage.