Support for marriage equality in Australia is higher than ever before. According to a recent survey, 72 per cent of Australians are in favour of allowing same-sex couples to marry.
The survey was conducted by Crosby/Textor, one of Australia’s leading research companies. They sought to find out Australians’ views on marriage equality and the results, involving 1,000 randomly selected participants, were released in July.
As noted by Crosby/Textor, this the highest level of support for marriage equality ever recorded and it also represents a rapid upwards trend. Just ten years ago, only 38 per cent of Australians supported marriage equality, while 44 per cent were opposed. Today, only around 1 in 5 Australians are opposed to marriage equality at any level.
Interestingly, support for marriage equality is not limited to any particular demographic, age or religious group. Of Australians who identified with a major religion – including Catholic, Anglican and non-Christian religions – a majority said they were in favour of same-sex marriage.
When it comes to allowing federal representatives to decide on the issue, even more respondents expressed support for allowing MPs a conscience vote on the issue (at 75 percent) than actually support marriage equality.
Sadly, backing for marriage equality among the Australian community is not reflected at the Federal level. In the House of Representatives, only 47 per cent of members support marriage equality and 60 per cent have said they oppose it, with 13 per cent undecided. Meanwhile, only 30 per cent of senators support same-sex marriage while 35 per cent oppose, with 11 per cent undecided.
Currently, the Liberal party does not allow party members to vote in accordance with their personal on the issue. Supporters of same-sex marriage believe allowing a conscience vote for Liberal party representatives will increase the chance of succeeding with a motion to change the Marriage Act.
Earlier this month, crossbench senator David Leyonhjelm announced that he was planning to introduce a private members bill into Parliament calling for a vote same-sex marriage. He subsequently put that bill on hold, citing that Labor and Liberal MPs had told him “the timing was wrong”.
He has said, however, that it will be only a matter of weeks or months, until he brings the motion to Parliament.
In the meantime, Marriage Equality Australia has called for all supporters to contact their MPs and urge them to vote in favour of any motion allowing same-sex marriage.
Currently, the Liberal party has refused calls to allow party members a conscience vote on the issue. Supporters of same-sex marriage believe allowing a conscience vote for Liberal party representatives will increase the chance that a motion to change the Marriage Act will succeed.
DDCS Lawyers believes that every Australian has the right to marry, no matter who they love. We encourage all supporters to reach out to their local representatives and let them know how you feel about the issue and to urge the Liberal party to allow a conscience vote on the matter.
You can find out more about Marriage Equality Australia on their website – http://www.australianmarriageequality.org/. The site also has a search tool allowing you to find out the name and contact details of your Federal representatives so you can get in touch with them.