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SAME-SEX MARRIAGE

CANADIAN PUBLIC OPINION POLLS
2005-JAN-01 to the present

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See also descriptions of polls for other years

We use the term "SSM" to refer to same-sex marriage

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Overview:

A battle has been in progress for years over whether  same-sex couples should be allowed to marry. The core conflict is between:

bullet Conservative religious position: Marriage should be a special privilege of opposite-sex couples made up of one man and one woman, or 
bullet Gay/liberal/human rights position: All couples, both same-sex and opposite sex should be allowed to marry.

As the year 2005 began, courts in one territory and seven provinces have ruled that SSM is legal. Same-sex couples can marry in every province in Canada except for Alberta, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. The three provinces and two territories where same-sex couples cannot marry yet are home to about 13% of the Canadian population.

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2005-FEB-07 to 09: EKOS Research Associates:

EKOS Marketing conducted a phone interview among 1,056 Canadian adults on behalf of the Toronto Star newspaper. The margin of error is stated to be 3 percentage points. The poll was taken after bill C-38 "Civil Marriage Act" was introduced to Parliament, and at about the time that controversy over SSM was beginning to die down in the media for a temporary lull.

In the past, SSM was only a theoretical possibility. Now it is an actuality in almost all of Canada, and a bill is before Parliament to make it universally available. Many people are thinking about and intensely discussing SSM. Opinions are beginning to shift.

The main question was: "Do you support or oppose allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry." Nationally, the results were:

bullet

42% were in favor of same-sex marriages. This is a rise from 36% in an EKOS poll of 2003-AUG.

bullet

40% were opposed. This is an decrease from 41% in 2003-AUG.

bullet

17% were neither in favor nor opposed.

bullet

1% gave no answer.

An alternative way of expressing this same data is:

bullet

59% of Canadians either favor allowing same-sex marriage or don't care.

bullet

40% are opposed.

bullet

1% gave no answer.

These data represent a remarkable shift in favor of SSM when compared to previous year's polls.

As expected:

bullet

Geographical location is a factor:
bullet

Quebec subjects were the most in favor of same-sex marriage at 52%.

bullet

Alberta were the most opposed, at 50%.

bullet

Ontario was close to Alberta at 48%.

bullet

Age is a major factor. SSM supporters totaled:
bullet

59% of subjects aged 18 to 24,

bullet

47% aged 25 to 44,

bullet

37% aged 45 to 64,

bullet

22% aged 65 years of age and older!

bullet

Sex is a factor.
bullet

48% of women support SSM

bullet

36% of men support SSM.

Additional results:

bullet

50% felt that "Endorsing same-sex marriages rights would be a positive signal to the world about Canada's values and beliefs."

bullet

42% felt that "Endorsing same-sex marriage rights would be a negative signal to the world about Canada's values and beliefs."

bullet

8% did not express an opinion.

bullet

Comparing EKOS polls over the past five years, those who agree that "same-sex couples should have the same rights as heterosexual couples" has increased from 45% to 60%.

Frank Graves, president of Ekos, said: "It's obviously an issue that's divisive, that a lot of people care passionately about. But frankly, I don't think there's any case to be made that this issue is a real deal-breaker for the Liberals in terms of their prospects for forming government the next time. In fact, looking at the overall trends and the way this is playing out, it's more likely to be a mild positive than a negative." He noted that the popularity of the Liberals has risen during the SSM debate. He also noted that more Canadians agree that SSM is "part of a positive evolutionary process" rather than something that would have "serious consequences for society."  1

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. "Canadians split over same-sex marriage," Toronto Star, 2005-FEB-12, Pages A1 and A4.
  2. "Referendum.ca" at: http://www.referendum.ca/

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Copyright 2005 & 2006 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally published: 2005-FEB-12
Latest update: 2006-MAR-25
Author: B.A. Robinson

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