Research released on Tuesday shows that Australians value the institution of marriage and believe it is important for children to be raised by their mother and father.

The research, commissioned by the Ambrose Centre for Religious Liberty, found that while a slim majority of Australians say they support same-sex marriage "in-principle", most do not think the Government should rush into changing the Marriage Act while we still do not understand the full social implications.

The research also shows a certain level of "cognitive dissonance" - 58% of people say they support the rights of same-sex couples to marry, but 69% agree that "marriage between a man and a woman and them having children together is an important social institution and we should uphold marriage and its traditional meaning". Nearly three quarters (73%) also agree that wherever possible society should ensure that children are raised by their natural mother and father, and promote this ideal.

A majority of Australians also believe that marriage is about more than just love and commitment between two adults, but is in the best interests of children; that children will grow up happier if they have a home with both a mother and a father; and that we should not rush into changing marriage without knowing the social impact, especially on children.

Changing the Marriage Act is also very low on the priority list of most Australians, including those who support such a change. On a list of six issues which include health services, euthanasia, and cost of living issues, changing marriage was the least important. In addition to this, 61% of people believe that debating the issue is "a distraction and a waste of resources".

Contrary to constant claims from elements of the media and homosexual activist groups, most people have no strong desire to see the Marriage Act changed.

In fact, most people still express strong support for the traditional institution of marriage and believe in the importance it has in the lives of children.