Espousing same-sex marriage

February 11, 2011, 10:02 PM GMT+0

The majority of the British public supports either same-sex marriage or civil partnerships that would give couples the same legal rights as marriage, although a significant minority oppose both options.

  • 42% would support the introduction of same-sex marriage
  • And 28% agree with civil partnerships for same-sex couples, but don’t approve of them being able to marry
  • Over one in five (21%) are opposed to both same-sex marriage and civil partnerships

Age and political leaning seemed to affect how likely people were to decide in favour of same-sex marriage.

  • 63% of 18-24 year olds think same-sex couples should be allowed to wed while just 12% of this age group oppose both marriage and civil partnership
  • In contrast, 20% of the over 60s support same-sex marriage, and 33% oppose civil partnerships as well
  • Party politics were a factor as well, with 49% of Labour supporters and 57% of Lib Dem supporters supporting same-sex marriage
  • Compared to 28% of Conservative supporters who agree with same-sex marriage. Conservatives are the most likely to see civil partnership as a solution, with 37% agreeing with this option

Same-sex couples in the UK have been able to form civil partnerships that carry the same legal rights as marriage since 2005. However, same-sex marriage is still against the law, and civil partnerships are not allowed between heterosexual couples. Four gay and four straight couples have taken their cases, for marriage and civil partnership respectively, to the European Court of Human Rights in an attempt to symbolically circumvent the law.

Human rights lawyer, Professor Robert Wintemute, claims that ‘the UK’s system of segregating couples into two “separate but equal” legal institutions violates the European Convention’. The European Court has yet to rule on the claims.

See the survey details and full results