Irish Times poll shows politicians are “behind the times” on gay marriage
The poll data broken down into age groups is even more promising, showing that support for gay marriage is strong in almost all age groups, only dipping to under 50% in those aged 55 and up. Also, people are relatively certain about their position, with the undecided vote being only 9%.
Marriage Equality director, Moninne Griffith, says that the results were as she expected.
We expected this but it is really encouraging. We know Irish people support equality for same sex couples, it’s the politicians who are behind the times on this issue.
In today’s press release, Griffith points out that the real difficulty exposed by this poll is how few people are comfortable with the reality of same-sex couples parenting children.
That only 46% of the people supported gay adoption indicates to us that Irish people are still uncomfortable with the idea of same-sex couples parenting. Many people in Ireland won’t know a gay or lesbian parent, and this makes them unsure about their parenting skills, and about the outcome for the child.
Marriage Equality launched a report last week, Voices of Children, that analysed the experiences of adults raised by lesbian parents. The results supported the large body of research available internationally, showing that, “there are no differences from being raised by two mums, two dads, or a mother and a father.”
The Green Party released a statement from Justice Spokesperson Trevor Sargent this afternoon reiterating the party’s support for same-sex marriage:
This survey shows that Irish people do support gay marriage and that attitudes have changed over the past number of years. Now that civil partnership legislation has been introduced, which delivers rights and protection across a range of areas; we must look to the next step forward in Irish equality – that of gay marriage – and the Green Party remains committed to achieving this.
So if politicians won’t be facing a voter backlash for recognising our right to marry, how do we convince them it’s worth pushing? According to Moninne Griffith,
[I]t’s the personal visits to TDs in their constituencies that inform TDs, shape their opinions and persuade them to take action on an issue. That’s how they keep in touch with what the Irish people want. This was obvious from the debates around civil partnership in the Dail, where almost all the TDs who spoke, told personal stories of people in their constituencies and the hardships they endured because of the lack of marriage equality. [...] If we want equality, we have to keep telling them that they need to do something about it.
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