Irish Times Poll: Two thirds in favor of the freedom to marry

Posted by Carl O'Brien on

"There are signs of liberal consensus on once-divisive issues such as homosexuality

"Have we cast off the shackles of Catholic guilt over sex? Or are we as conservative as ever about life between the sheets?

"If the results of the Irish Times /Behaviour Attitudes poll are anything to go by, the ground has shifted in the direction of a more liberal attitude to issues that were recently considered taboo.

"As ever, there are age-related differences. Younger and middle-aged people are much more liberal. Older people are more likely to adopt a more conservative approach, though not in the numbers that might be expected.

"In general, however, there are signs of consensus emerging across once-divisive issues such as cohabitation, the freedom to marry and the age of sexual consent.

"Take homosexuality, which was decriminalised in Ireland in 1993. The poll shows the vast majority of people (91 per cent) would not think less of a person if that person were to reveal they were gay or lesbian. These numbers are consistently high across all age groups, and in urban and rural areas.

"The Government has rejected marriage equality on the basis that a referendum to allow it would be divisive and unlikely to be approved by the electorate. Not according to this poll. It shows some 67 per cent of people feel gay couples should be allowed to marry.

"Again, this majority extends across most age groups (with the exception of over-65s, who are divided on the issue). Even a large majority of Catholics (66 per cent) support the idea. Twenty-five per cent feel gay couples should not be allowed to marry – opposition that is concentrated among older people and those living in rural areas.

"Similarly, most people (60 per cent) do not feel the recently enacted civil partnership legislation – which provides marriage-like privileges for same-sex couples – is an attack on marriage."

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