Open Thread: How Gay-Friendly Are Australians?

Marriage equality for same-sex couples is finally receiving support in the Australian parliament after the Greens party sparked the motion for Federal Labor and Liberal leaders to consult with their constituents to gauge the views and community attitudes toward gay marriage. The move has triggered widespread discussion over the issue after Greens MP Adam Bandt’s address to parliament on Monday 15 November, which was subsequently seconded by Independent MP Andrew Wilkie and ALP Member Stephen Jones, and has since seen vocal support – and disapproval – from various MPs. [Read full transcript for Same-Sex Marriage House Debate HERE]

This motion for parties to discuss gay marriage with constituents has triggered a bulk of commentary and opining throughout every major Australian media outlet, as well as much debate among the public. The statistics that have served to further stimulate this discussion have, in part, come from an EMC poll showing a majority of Australians believe same sex couples should be allowed to get married. The report revealed 53% of people see no reason why same sex unions should not be legal; 36% believe the law should remain unchanged to recognise marriage as being between a man and a woman, and the remaining 11% are undecided.

It is interesting to consider the large percentage of the population that continue to define “marriage” in line with the Catholic tradition: that marriage is a covenant between a man and a woman; that “marriage” is between a man and a woman for the purpose of procreation. Amazingly, this theory is regularly used as the main defensive weapon by people with an anti-gay-marriage stance.

There are several problems I perceive in taking this route. Firstly let’s face it: using biblical references in order to make a point is pretty lame two thousand years after the fact. Secondly, this ‘marriage is for procreation’ attitude entirely undermines the sexual revolution! Thank god in the wider community the attitude toward sex purely as a means to procreate is no longer the primary attitude. As a result the concept of marriage should no longer be defined as thus. In reality, the concept of marriage is a social construct that, I would wager, simply needs a change of definition.

Further debate on the issue has stemmed from a survey conducted by Roy Morgan Research on Australian attitudes towards homosexuality. The results below indicate the most ‘anti-gay’ regions in the country:

Respondents in Queensland (the state from which I hail) indicate 30% of the population believe being gay is actually immoral, that homosexuality is wrong full stop – never mind the whole marriage equality issue. Needless to say, the percentages above are, statistically, just the tip of the iceberg.

We want to know what you think about this topic: What is your stance on marriage equality?