With all the hue and cry going on in Great Britain, you’d think they were on the verge of civil war over Prime Minister David Cameron’s plan to introduce marriage equality.
But a new poll indicates more than three in five British voters support the effort, even though civil partnerships in the UK offer many of the same rights and benefits.
The ICM poll conducted just before Christmas found 62% of voters now support the proposals, with half this number – 31% – opposed. Most previous polls have found opinion leaning the same way, although the two-to-one margin revealed on Wednesday is particularly emphatic.
An ICM online survey for the Sunday Telegraph in March asked the identical question – which expressly reminds people that the option of civil partnerships already exists for gay couples – and established a 45%-36% lead for the reformers.
Surveyors polled a random sample of 1,002 adults across the country between December 19 and 23. While Labour members and Liberal Democrats have long tended to support equal marriage, the change in Conservative voters has been pronounced: From 50% against it in March, to 52% in favor in December.
Great Britain doesn’t have the virulent strain of fundamentalism its cousin across the Atlantic enjoys, but religious leaders have been opening their big fat yaps: In his Christmas Mass, Bishop Mark Davies compared same-sex-marriage boosters to Nazis and Communists. And High Court judge Sir Paul Coleridge ruffled feathers when he said too much time and energy was being wasted on something that would benefit “0.1% of the population.”
Sorry, Sir Paul, we didn’t realize civil rights was a numbers game.
Liberal Democrat minister Lynne Featherstone, who supports equal marriage, wrote on her blog that Catholic leaders were being “shameful” in attacking the government’s plan for civil marriage: “If their religious beliefs are that marriage can only be between a man and a woman, they should have the confidence in their flocks to believe that too,” she wrote. “And if it is their own flocks’ potential for disagreeing with them that is their real fear—then that is a matter for religious leaders and their congregations to sort out.”
God, sometimes we really regret the whole American Revolution.