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Religious Tolerance logo

Gay marriage (a.k.a. same-sex
marriage, ssm, & marriage equality)

Canadian public opinion polls during
2003-SEP to DEC
, less than two years
before parliament legalized gay marriage.

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This topic is continued from the previous essay.

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2003-SEP-8: SES-Research poll:

SES-Research released data from a ten-day poll of 1,000 Canadian adults. It was held about three months after same-sex marriages became available in Ontario. A slight plurality favored marriage equality. The specific question asked was:
bullet

"As you may know, there will be a vote in the House of Commons to legalize same-sex marriages. This would give gay and lesbian couples the same legal recognition as heterosexual couples. that is, couples made up of a man and a woman.

bullet

Some people think that same-sex couples should be allowed to be legally married and be recognized like couples made up of a man and a woman.

bullet

Other people think that only marriages between a man and a woman should be legally recognized.

bullet

Which of these two opinions, if either, best reflect your views?"

Half of the subjects were asked the above question; the other half was asked the question with the sentences in bold interchanged. 

They found that:
bullet

47% support SSM;

bullet

44% are opposed;

bullet

9% were unsure.

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There were the expected age split:
bullet

60% of Canadian adults under 30 supported SSM


bullet

32% of those over 60 supported SSM

The greatest gap in opinion was found between church goers and others:
bullet

58% of Canadian adults who said they never attend religious services support SSM


bullet

24% of those who say they attend service weekly support SSM

As expected, support was highest in Quebec and British Columbia (53%) and lowest in Alberta (28%). There is a large percentage of Roman Catholics in Quebec, of secularists and followers of minority religions in British Columbia, and Evangelicals in Alberta.

Of particular note is the finding that:
bullet

60% of those who oppose SSM would vote against their MP in the next election if he is for SSM


bullet

37% of those who support SSM would vote against their MP if he opposed SSM

It is this kind of data that makes legislators very nervous about promoting equal rights for gays and lesbians and bisexuals including the right to marry.

The margin of error is ±3.1 percentage points. 1

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2003-SEP: A Centre for Research and Information on Canada poll:

Environics Research Group interviewed 1,500 adult Canadians for CRIC. The margin of error is ±2.5 percentage points.

bullet

48%% of Canadians agree that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.


bullet

47% feel that marriage should be prohibited.


bullet

5% are undecided or gave no response. 3


bullet

As expected:
bullet

Age is a major factor:
bullet

63% of those aged 18 to 35 support legalizing SSM. This drops to:

bullet

51% for those 35 to 44;

bullet

48% for those 45 to 54,

bullet

38% for those 55 to 64 and

bullet

23% for those 65 and older

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2003-DEC: Compas Inc.

They asked each of the 1,000 subjects whether they:

"support or oppose keeping the definition of marriage as a union of one woman and one man to the exclusion of all others? … Do you strongly or somewhat [support/oppose] this definition?"

Results were:

bullet

48% strongly support retaining the current definition of marriage.

bullet

15% somewhat support.

bullet

13% somewhat oppose.

bullet

18% strongly oppose.

bullet

6% didn't know or no response.

They gave the subjects three options concerning same-sex relationships:

bullet

30% don't recognize them at all.

bullet

37% recognize them as civil unions, not as marriages.

bullet

31% allow same-sex couples to marry.

bullet

2% don't know or no response.

They asked the subjects whether religious institutions should speak out on marriage laws:

bullet

49% said they should.

bullet

48% said they shouldn't.

bullet

3% didn't know or no response.

The margin of error is ±3.1 percentage points. 4

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Related essays in this web site include:

bullet Information about Canadian polls on other les/gay topics
 
bullet Canadian legislation and court battles about same-sex marriage and civil unions

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References:

  1. "Political Crossfire -- Legalizing Same-sex Marriages; Generation and faith divide Canadians," SES-Research, 2003-SEP-7, at: http://www.sesresearch.com/  **
  2. Maragaret Philip, "Support for same-sex marriage still split. Though level of backing hasn't changed, debate heats up on use of word 'marriage'," Globe and Mail, 2004-OCT-7. See: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/
  3. "Canadians Reject Ban on Religious Symbols or Clothes in Schools Majority Sees Racial or Religious Background of Party Leaders as Irrelevant," CRIC, 2004-JUL-1, at: http://www.cric.ca/ **
  4. "Compas' twice yearly syndicated study of where Canadians stand on the ethical, moral, and value issues of the day," Compas, 2003-DEC, at: http://www.compas.ca/ **

  ** These are PDF files.

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Copyright © 1996 to 2016 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally published: 1996-SEP-25
Latest update: 2016-JUL-20
Author: B.A. Robinson

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