Gay community split on same-sex marriage

A new poll has found that only half of gays and lesbians view marriage as "personally important".

Polling and research company ComRes conducted the poll to see where the homosexual community stands on the government's proposal to change the law on marriage to include same-sex couples.

Among the significant findings, 26 per cent of homosexual respondents said they believe there is no need to redefine marriage since civil partnerships already give same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual ones.

However, most gay people, 77 per cent, also disagree that marriage should be only between a man and a woman, and 72 per cent said that the real point of marriage was the love between two people, rather than raising children.

Only 50 per cent of gay and lesbian respondents thought it was important to "extend marriage to same-sex couples", and only 27 per cent said that such a change would prompt them to marry their same-sex partner.

"This survey explodes the myth that this is an issue of human rights, equality and discrimination. Gay people do not regard same-sex marriage as a priority, and show no more enthusiasm for it than for civil partnerships," said Dr Austen Ivereigh, director of Catholic Voices, who helped with the survey.

He was quoted as saying by The Telegraph: "This new poll shows that the proposal to redefine marriage divides gay people as well as everyone else. Perhaps now we can move beyond caricatures and have a debate about the real issue – which is that the current definition of marriage in law has good reasons and important benefits."

The ComRes poll first asked asked the views of more than 10,000 people. Respondents were asked to self-identify according to their sexual orientation, and 5 per cent, or 541 of respondents, said they were gay, lesbian or bisexual.

Church leaders in England, both from the Anglican and Catholic communities have spoken out against the government's plans and have warned against tampering with the traditional definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.