Religious groups support same-sex marriage: poll

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Gay Couple
Dwayne D. Beefe-Franqui (L) of Pensacola, Florida, holds on to his husband Jonathan. Reuters/Chris Tilley

A recent polling commissioned by advocates has revealed that a majority of Christians, Catholics and other religious groups are for same-sex marriage. Many are expected to be in the “yes” side in the postal survey.

The "yes" side begins the campaign with the support of 66 percent of all Aussies, with support among the non-religious at 79 percent, the research finds. Catholics and non-Christian religions were more likely to back up same-sex marriage, as thirds of these groups indicate they were in favour of it.

Meanwhile, the figure was 59 percent for Anglicans, Uniting Church and Church of England. According to Sydney Morning Herald, advocates of marriage equality are going to utilise the findings to encourage 5 million Catholics in Australia to pay no attention to directives from the church's leadership and vote with their conscience.

The polling, which was commissioned by the Equality Campaign, was conducted last week by Jim Reed of Newgate Research, formerly of Liberal-aligned Crosby/Textor. At least 1,000 people have participated online.

The participants were asked, "If you were to vote, do you think that you would vote yes or no to allowing same-sex couples to marry in Australia?” Those who responded to the survey chose between "yes" and "no.”

Reed has revealed that margin of error within each religious category was up to 8 percent. A majority of people in each group backed up same-sex marriage even at the maximum margin of error. Tiernan Brady, executive director of the Equality Campaign and a practising Catholic, said the flock have made their mind up on the issue.

Reed told Fairfax Media that the new research confirms other published polls that around two thirds or a majority are intending to vote yes. "They give an indication certainly that a majority of people of the major faiths also support same-sex marriage and probably will do so in this vote,” he said.

But Coalition for Marriage spokeswoman Monica Doumit said people of faith "continue to be concerned" about the implications of same-sex marriage for religious freedom despite the poll results. Doumit explained that it is about the ability to express one’s stand on marriage with no fear of intimidation.

Fairfax Media had previously reported that the Catholic Church was threatening to sack any of its 180,000 nurses, teachers and other parish employees who enter same-sex marriage. Archbishop of Melbourne Denis Hart told followers in a letter that it is vital that Catholics vote on this public issue.

ABC News (Australia)/YouTube