Record numbers in favour of gay marriage

July 14, 2007

A report by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission (HREOC), launched on June 22, recommends that laws discriminating against gays be removed. The report comes at a time when record numbers of Australians are in favour of gay marriage.

The report, Same-Sex: Same Entitlements, calls for "simple amendments" to a range of laws to remove discrimination against gay men, bisexuals and lesbians. These amendments would include laws on de facto relationships, the recognition of same-sex partners and laws relating to duties owed to children. The 446-page report also calls for changes to remove discrimination in laws relating to employment, workers' compensation, health care, aged care and migration.

A telephone survey by Galaxy Research of 1100 people over June 16-17 showed that more than 70% support giving gay couples the same rights as straight couples. The survey found that 63% of Coalition voters were in favour of removing laws that discriminate against gays.

In addition, 43% of Coalition voters were in favour of same-sex marriage, with greater numbers recorded for Labor and Green voters. The strongest opposition to discrimination came from young people, with 25-34 year olds giving a 72% approval rating to the right to marry.

PM John Howard has committed to having a "look" at the HREOC report.

Rachel Evans, secretary of the Community Action Against Homophobia, the group that has spearheaded the campaign for same-sex marriage rights in NSW, told Green Left Weekly that the report's findings underscored the "widespread passive support for equal rights for homosexuals", something that CAAH was committed to turning into active support for same-sex rights. She urged everyone who opposes discrimination against same sex couples to get involved in the national day of action for same-sex marriage rights on August 12.

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