Sunday August 10, 2014

The same-sex marriage debate was settled at last September’s federal election when despite the issue getting high profile during the campaign, voters were underwhelmed by it.

Australian Christian Lobby Managing Director Lyle Shelton said the reprisal in today’s Fairfax Media of Crosby Textor polling should be considered in the light of this result.

Kevin Rudd’s pledge in the first televised debate to legislate same-sex marriage within 100 days if elected gave the issue unprecedented profile during an Australian election, Mr Shelton said.

This prompted ACL to commission JWS Research to poll voters on the federal election issues which mattered to them.

Just 13 per cent of voters said it was in their top three issues when deciding who to vote for with the issue rating 9th overall out of 13 issues put to 927 respondents.

Same-sex marriage made the top three list of just four per cent of Coalition voters. It was not a top three issue for 72 per cent of Greens and 85pc of Labor voters.

Despite changing marriage being a top priority issue for the Greens, they suffered a nation-wide swing against them while the pro-marriage Family First Party picked up a South Australian Senate seat.

Mr Shelton said that since the High Court ruled last December that States and Territories could not legislate to change the definition of marriage, the issue had all but disappeared.

“The enthusiasm of one new cross-bench Senator for the issue is hardly reason to for it to be resuscitated,” Mr Shelton said.

Mr Shelton noted that the Crosby Textor poll conducted last month contained questioning of respondents which wrongly assumed there were no consequences for anyone but same-sex couples of a change in the law.

“A change in the legal definition of marriage would flow through anti-discrimination law affecting freedom of belief. Overseas this is resulting in significant litigation against people who believe marriage is between a man and a woman,” Mr Shelton said.

The current Senate inquiry into recognising foreign same-sex marriages, described by former Liberal Senator Sue Boyce as a ‘back door’ attempt to change the law here, attracted 42,000 signatures to a submission opposing change.