Friday, 31 July 2009

West Australian: WA support for gay marriage: poll
18th June 2009, 6:45 WST by ANDREW TILLETT CANBERRA

Supposedly conservative West Australians have swung behind gay marriage, with a new opinion poll finding more than half the State’s population in favour of same-sex unions.

BLOG: Same sex marriage: We do?

Gay rights activists have used the findings to reignite the same-sex marriage debate, with 60 per cent of Australians believing homosexual couples should be able to get hitched, while 36 per cent were opposed.

In WA, 59 per cent backed gay marriage, compared with 37 per cent against.

The Australian Marriage Equalitycommissioned poll of 1100 people also found that 58 per cent wanted foreign same-sex marriages to be recognised legally in Australia.

“Clearly, Australians believe marriage is first and foremost about love and commitment, not your partner’s gender,” AME convener Peter Furness said.

The Howard government outlawed gay marriage in 2004 by defining marriage as between a man and a woman. It means same-sex marriages entered into overseas are also invalid.

Despite growing support for samesex marriage, the issue is off the agenda for State and Federal politicians.

Nedlands couple Roy and John Berkin used a loophole allowing them to apply at Perth’s British Consulate in 2007 for a British civil partnership, which is not recognised here.

Roy changed his surname by deed poll to match his partner but they want to marry legally, arguing the ban is discriminatory.

“Both of us have siblings who are married — they are able to show the world they are a couple but we cannot,” Roy said.

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