An ICM poll for the Sunday Telegraph has found more people are in favour of changing the law to allow gay couples to marry than are opposed.
The poll shows that 45 per cent supporting the move in principle, while just 36 per cent oppose it. The rest of those asked had no firm view. Women are more strongly in favour than men.
A similar poll by YouGov for the Sunday Times found 43 per cent in favour of same sex marriage, 32 percent in favour of just civil partnerships and just 15 per cent opposed to both.
The move is being backed by Conservative prime minister David Cameron and the Sunday Telegraph poll finds that more Conservative supporters (50 per cent) oppose the change in the law than supoport Mr Cameron’s view (35 per cent). 88 per cent of Tories say it is wrong for the prime minister to prioritise the issue before 2015.
The prime minister has publicly said that Churches and other groups will not be forced to hold same sex marriage ceremonies. More than half of voters agree, but interestingly 26 per cent say Churches and Synagogues should not be offered an opt out.
Earlier in the week, a now discredited poll was commissioned by Catholics Voices and conducted by Comres. It appeared to show that 70 per cent of the public are opposed to same sex couples getting married. A full PinkNews analysis of the subject is here.
On Monday, The Times became the first daily newspaper to outline its vocal support to reforming marriage by allowing same sex couples to enjoy the same rights as opposite sex couples. On Monday it wrote: “It would enrich the institution of marriage, enhance social stability and expand the sum of human happiness. It is a cause that has the firm support of The Times.”
It continued: “Reforming the law would enrich the lives of same-sex couples who wish to marry in order to affirm by rite that they love and are loved in return. By that commitment, they will enrich the society and culture that their fellow citizens share.” The Guardian published a similar editorial on Thursday.
The Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church have made clear their opposition to marriage equality. Britain’s only Catholic cardinal, Keith Michael Patrick O’Brien called it a “grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right”.
But Quakers, Unitarians, Liberal Judaism and just yesterday, Reform Judaism backed equality and wish to conduct religious same sex marriages.
A consultation on the government’s proposal to merely change the name civil partnerships to civil marriage is supported by Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron, his Liberal Democrat deputy Nick Clegg, Labour leader Ed Miliband, SNP deputy first minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon and the Green party leader Caroline Lucas.