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Seventy per cent oppose gay marriage, poll finds

By on Thursday, 8 March 2012

Seven out of 10 British people believe that marriage should continue to be defined as a lifelong union of a man and a woman, and more than eight out of 10 believe that children have the best chance in life if raised by their biological parents.

The results, revealed by a ComRes online poll of more than 2,000 people, arrive on the eve of the Government consulting on opening marriage to same-sex couples.

The consultation is due to be published on Thursday next week.

The survey, commissioned by Catholic Voices, a group created to put the Church’s case in the media, also shows majority support for civil partnerships.

In a briefing paper published to accompany the results, In Defence of Conjugality, Catholic Voices argues that the redefining marriage will impact negatively on future generations.

Austen Ivereigh, coordinator of Catholic Voices, said: “Our poll shows that the Government has no mandate to alter an institution which lies at the foundation of our society. British people believe that gay relationships should be recognised by the state through civil partnerships. But they are clear that marriage is a unique institution which needs to be promoted because of the benefits to children of being raised by a mother and a father. These results are a clear warning to Government that it is at odds with the public on this issue.”

  • Anonymous

    The full results of the poll are available online as a PDF

    The poll found that 59% agreed with and only 23% opposed the statement, “Stable relationships between same-sex couples should be legally recognised through the civil partnership scheme”

    Anyone familiar with the conduct opinion polls will recognise that the question asked, “Marriage should continue to be defined as a life-long exclusive commitment between a man and a woman,”and the location of it in the poll make it a very loaded question.

    Amongst other defects it does not actually ask the respondents to give their views on gay marriage. It is quite possible that someone in favour of gay marriage could have answered yes to that question because it does not say “only” between a man and a woman. As a result of its defects the poll is pretty useless.

  • Charles Martel

    Whatever the opinion polls say, even if that figure is reversed,  there is no such thing as homosexual marriage and never will be. Let’s not rely on opinion polls to bolster our arguments. Men cannot marry men. It’s an abomination, as is any kind of same-sex union.

  • James H

    Thanks for the link to the results, Patrick.

    I’m sorry to say, your comments are a lamentable exercise in rationalisation.

    Yes, 59% agreed with civil partnerships for gay couples; that doesn’t
    change the fact that 70% agree that marriage should *continue to be*
    defined as heterosexual. “Only a man and a woman” is obviously implied
    by the word “continue”. In other words, people think the institution is
    fixed, and shouldn’t be broken.

    There are only 4 questions. In what way does the placing of the
    question have any bearing on the results? If the respondents were in
    favour of gay marriage, they would have checked ‘Disagree’ to that
    question. As it happened, most of them didn’t. You don’t ask for
    people’s views in a poll, you keep the answers as basic as possible, to
    form a proxy for their views.

    Despite years of anti-heterosexual propaganda from the infotainment
    media, people still recognise that homosexual ‘marriage’ is
    fundamentally a denial of reality. “For homosexual couples, the marital
    act is physically impossible – the
    pieces don’t fit – and the attempt to ape it through sodomy is
    hygienically compromised and incapable in any circumstances of
    generating new life. For these reasons, among many others, common law
    has held through the centuries that marriage can only be between a man
    and a woman.” The article that quote came from is here:

  • David Devinish

    I approve of marriage because it is good for the honeymoon hotel business, floral, catering, limousine hire business, wedding dress and suit hire business, photographic business and travel business etc. The Catholic church makes a fair penny from weddings. All that is laudable.But the ecclesiastical aspects of getting married is flummery and counts for nothing. Gods blessing is no longer a requirement for people to engage in sexual activity. The Catholic Church’s power and ability to insist that children be brought up as Catholics is redundant.So, what is all the fuss about? My solicitor assures me that the new legislation will be passed without too much opposition and it will become law. After a suitable period of time, probably under a Labour government, the law will be changed so that all persons conducting weddings (for which they will have to be licensed) will have to obey the law and marry any couple regardless of gender, otherwise their licience to conduct weddings will be revoked. There will be no special dispensation for religious organisations. That is the shape of things to come.

  • John Byrne

    You have hit the nail firmly on the head Patrick.

    People might remember the “Yes Minister” episode where Sir Humphrey explains to Bernard how to conduct so-called opinion polls in order to get the answer you want.

    Sir Humphrey takes as an example the question of the desirability, or otherwise, of young men being conscripted for National Military Service at age 18 (which was the case in the UK until the 1950s).

    In order to get one answer you might ask: “Do you think that young men with loads of surplus energy should spend a couple of years in an orderly and disciplined environment so as to inculcate habits of hard work and respect for authority which will last them throughout life?”
    People will, on the whole, answer “Oh Yes” – it’s obviously a good idea, isn’t it?

    In order to get the exact opposite response you might ask: “In view of the problems which exist in society such as muggings, violence against the person, armed robbery ….etc., do you think it a good idea that young men with loads of surplus energy should spend two years, at taxpayers’ expense, learning how to use guns, knives and explosive devices of various kinds with great effect and precision before being released back into wider society?”
    The obvious answer which, on the whole people will give is “Oh no” – it’s obviously the right response isn’t it?

    The opinion poll in question is a deplorable, fraudulent, cheap trick which “Catholic Voices” will find is counter-productive.

    Even the Conservative Party will not be taken in by it. The senior Cabinet Minister Francis Maude said in a speech only yesterday (7 March 2012) that anyone failing to support David Cameron’s drive for equal homosexual rights risks leaving the Party viewed, by the great majority of British citizens, as “unacceptable and unelectable”.  
    The Party knows only too well from its focus groups and its own polling that there is an overwhelming majority of the British people in favour of marriage (as an equal right) being available to homosexual couples. It realises, as Francis Maude shows, that it would be an enormous electoral liability not to pass the necessary legislation.

  • Fifi

    Men already do marry men in some parts of the world.

  • John Byrne

    James H , above,  has misstated the question that was asked.

    The question asks whether “Marriage should continue to be defined as a life-long exclusive commitment between a man and a woman.”
    Many people  will recognise that the exclusivity here refers to the “commitment”, and not to “a man and a woman”.

    James H says that “a man and a woman” is obviously implied
    by the word “continue”, but I cannot agree that it is. In any event it is simply not open to us to speculate about what may or not have been “obviously implied” to some third party. The question in all its parts could easily have been put clearly and unambiguously – but it was not.

    But underlying all of this is the clear knowledge that the all political parties in this country have from their continual focus group meetings and their own polling, viz. that the very great majority of the British people are firmly in favour of the proposed legislation to give homosexual couples the same rights as heterosexuals in the matter of marriage.
    Even the Conservative Party sees it as an electoral liability if it fails to pass the legislation (see Francis Maude’s warning, above).
    If it should happen (God forbid) that the present Conservative led Coalition government should fail to pass the necessary Bill, then we may be very sure that it would be passed without delay in the next parliament.

  • Fifi

    The wording of the previous questions, particularly question  2, are designed to lead you toward the desired answer in the final question. All opinion polls do this, some more obviously than others. They are never anything more than a hook for a news story (like this one) and should not be taken seriously.

  • Jane Brady

    What you have advocated is true. Even a GCSE student who is being introduced to statistics knows that skewed surveys an referenda does enormous harm. All bad science does enormous harm. As you know, all governments carry out their own surveys and research about public opinion before proposing legislation and they do not proceed unless they are sure of winning, as is the case with pending same sex marriage. There have been exceptions when Mrs Thatcher tried to force the poll tax legislation when all the surveys and research said no, and then the people said no to her. The Catholic church has to acknowledge social change and it cannot operate in isolation of the wishes of the public.

  • Anonymous

    Yawn……more tosh from the Jesuit ” educated” Mr Devinish

  • Anonymous

    Hate to burst your bubble. But all polls are guilty of this. Wakey wakey

  • Anonymous

    The Times ran a poll on this subject a few years ago, but they loaded the question in the other direction and as a result got a very different answer.

    The question they asked was “Please say if you agree or disagree with each of the following statements? 1. Gay couples should have an equal right to get married, not just to have civil partnerships.”

    They found 61% agreed and only 33% disagreed.

    Austen Ivereigh is a very clever chap, and he no doubt intends his poll for the consumption of people who are somewhat less clever, but surely the readership of the Catholic Herald is too sophisticated to be taken in by blatantly slanted opinion polls.

  • Jane Brady

    Well Mr teigiturWhich particular bit is tosh? The Law Society have been sending out guidance to solicitors regarding the pending changes to same sex marriage. So I do not know how you can dismiss his opinion. The commercial aspects that he presents are very valid. So you must have another agenda for dismissing his viewpoint. Perhaps do not like anything or any body that has a different opinion than yours. Let us have your opinion on why the Jesuit ” educated” Mr Devinish is wrong. I would bet that you cannot do it, and he “would run rings around’ anything you have to say . You sound to be full of hatred, malice and spite. You poor devil.

  • Paul Halsall

    The survey, commissioned by Catholic Voices”

    So it doesn’t count.

  • Oconnord

    Efficient use of resources there. Catholic Voices commission a poll to show that people are against changing the definition of marriage to include gay marriage. They then forget to ask people whether they are against redefining marriage to include gay marriage. “Massive Facepalm” is I think the modern term for that move.

    One could almost think they cynically didn’t ask people their view on the actual topic, because it would prove that Catholic Voices are not backed by most people.

  • John Byrne

    You say “All opinion polls do this, some more… than others”.
    I agree that this is so. But it is possible with great care and analysis to design questions which are indeed virtually without bias.
    This is done by the political parties who actually DO want to know the truth – i.e. what people really believe, or think, about some issue etc. .

    However in this marriage poll the bias was deliberately built in to achieve the required result. There was no wish or intention to actually discover public opinion.
    All this shameful “cooking of the books” shows is that Catholic Voices knew, or suspected, that public opinion differed greatly from their views.

  • Anonymous

    But as Janey Daley points out, Maude in the same sentence called for the Tories to take account of “ethnic minorities”. Well, I guess those ethnic minorities include Muslims from the Indian sub-continent and northern Africa, evangelical and Protestant Christians from other parts of Africa and the Caribbean etc. 

    Mr Byrne, it may have escaped your notice – as surely it escaped your esteemed Mr Francis Maude’s – many of these people don’t have much truck with gay sex, gay marriage, gain Paree or gay anything else.It’s odd that in a comment which, correctly, points out the fallacies in polling, relies for its final assertion of the results of “focus groups” and “its own polling” by “The Party” (love the capitals!).

  • Anonymous

     Well Jane, the underlying assumption Devinish is operating on is that the Catholic Church is simply an organisation on a power-trip. Perhaps if he considered the possibility that it sticks to its guns because its doctrine is worth living by… perhaps if he considered the Catholic stance notionally, rather than prejudicially… perhaps then his opinion would be worth something.

  • Oconnord

    Now that was abrasive, you usually have a witty riposte. Hey, we all have off days.

    But it’s true you did not address his point, (or other comments). The fact that you have to look at surveys with a critical eye to both the questions and the people surveyed is obvious. 

    Is it so hard to admit this was a bad survey, used as a bad piece of propaganda? Do you feel that you have to agree with everything as long as it backs up your point? Even if it is spurious?

    Seriously.. when you’re wrong.. you’re wrong.
    And no amount of insistence will change it.
    Same applies when the information you base your point on is untrue.
    In this case, it’s a deliberate misstatement of truth.

    Check the headline to the article…
    “Seventy percent oppose gay marriage, poll finds”

    The first sentence of the article shows that the headline is a blatant lie.
    The poll, which is not linked to in the article, does not mention gay marriage.
    And the reasons to dismiss the poll have been better stated by better commentators than I. 

    So again the question is why would you prefer cozy falsehoods than actual truths?

  • Harry McCracken

    What is happening regarding Catholicism is a worldwide problem that effects all religions who worship a deity. The concept of divine intervention and life hereafter and praying to deities is diminishing fast throughout the world. A Muslim colleague of mine complains that young Muslims want the same things that are available to others in the material world i.e. high fashion, dancing, alcohol, and the rest. He told me that his daughters do not attend the mosque and they have body tattoos, illicit sex, and they drink gin. He tells me that his sons reject the teachings of the Holy Qur’an He laments that he is powerless to stop this, as is the mosque. The same applies to Catholics who no longer find the tenets of the Apostles Creed tenable and have little concern about the ramifications of the next world. If the person is given the choice of dancing ’till dawn in a nightclub or attending a retreat in search of repentance, I would make a reasoned supposition that the former would be more appealing in many cases. Many people no longer fear the prospect of eternal damnation, and do not subscribe to the adoration of a deity. Whether the Catholic Church likes it or not it is only a matter of time until the Vatican will have to address the concept of divine intervention (the incarnation, the trinity, the virgin birth ) and life hereafter (heaven, hell, purgatory, limbo, indulgences etc.) The main problem is that none of these concepts are logical, rational or feasible to the lives of many people unless they have been taught this dogma at an early age, and most people have not the slightest idea of what is meant by life everlasting in the way that Catholics take for granted. I do not know what the church can do about it, because some priests have shown themselves to be poor role models for morality. Therefore although doctrine was well intended in context with the zeitgeist of the time, it is no longer sustainable because the majority of human beings do not believe it is true.

  • theroadmaster

    While polls are not infallible and are not guaranteed to be perfect diviners of public opinion, in this case, the clear majority polled has given a resounding thumbs-up to the age-old, accepted view of how marriage should be constituted.  The question is unambiguously framed and there can be no suspicion of leaving it open-ended.  Yet, we have supporters of the modernist attempt to redefine that position, looking to thrash the findings, just because the outcome is not in their favor.  People instinctively know in their hearts the natural criteria and conditions which constitute a marriage, i.e one man pledging his love in a solemn vow to his betrothed wife in a blessed union which is open to procreation.

  • Charles Martel

    More tosh from the ‘learned and sophisticated’ Jane Brady, hater of the Catholic Church. I have a question. You people (Patrick Hadley, Jane Brady, Mark Castilano, David Devenish, et al.) spend a huge amount of time on this website trying to mock Catholics and trash our faith. Why? Do you get a kick out of it? Do you honestly think you convince anyone with your ludicrous rantings? Why don’t you spend more time on your yoga or get on to some Muslim site somewhere and let them have the benefit of all your wisdom?

  • Anonymous

    hello Damo. Sorry you feel I m not up to scratch, but really , in my one-liner, what is false? In all polls its all about the way the question is formulated.
     BTW. I think” Catholic Voices” are a waste of space , so its not because I fawn over everything that includes “Catholic” in its title.

  • Kyriakos

     Your statement that loss of faith in eternal life  is a worldwide problem is wrong and your perspective is very narrow (not global).

    Read John Allen -’Three myths about the church to give up for Lent’ in NCR-

  • Kyriakos

    Men already marry more than one women in some parts of the world,so do you accept polygamy.

    Popular acceptance of something does not make it morally right

  • Gerry Walsh

    If you are advocating that the people you mention should be censored or blocked from this site, then this is very serious situation. I have made a quick check over what these people have written and there is no mockery of the catholic church. It is mockery to apply reason and ask searching questions about the validity and truthfulness of the Catholic church’s teaching? It seems that your attitude is more in keeping with medieval and Byzantine values and you propose that anyone who disagrees with your opinion must be excluded from stating their point of view on this site. This is a sad message and demonstrates just how little the catholic church has changed over the years and how far removed it is from contemporary logic and reasonableness. I would never condemn your right to be rude, vulgar and bad-mannered, which you are, because I accept that is what your limited vocabulary allows. Your comments are stimulating and promote reaction, so please keep it up. You do not have the right to shut other people up. Your reference that those people should go to a Muslim site is deeply insensitive and offensive, but you would not even have considered that because you are insensitive and intolerant to the opinions and values of other people.

  • Harry McCracken

    I did not say anything about loss of faith in eternal life. I stated that more and more people do not accept the concept of everlasting life and do not accept the adoration of a deity. It is not a requirement to pray to a god-like figure to have faith. Catholics and Christians do not have the monopoly on faith. Buddhists do not have a god figure. The statue of Buddha is not that of god although Buddhist and Hindu accept eternal life. The people of the world must be free to believe or not believe in creeds and dogmas, but enforced religion and enforced faith are no longer acceptable in this contemporary world. As I mentioned, The Muslim tradition are having the very same problems, but they do not express the same degree of hyperbole as Catholics are doing.I merely mention that Roman Catholic doctrine that is based on the Constantine Creed (Nicene Creed) is no longer believable and is not logical or reasonable or is it sustainable for the future.Let the church protest as much as it wishes about modernity and secularism, but the simple truth is “modernity and secularism” are with us whether we like it or not. Very soon there will be no such thing as ‘same sex marriage’; there will be a new legal definition of the meaning of marriage that will be open to anyone.I have read John Allen and I liked it, but he writes for a catholic paper and his views suit the ethos of that paper, and there is nothing wrong with that.

  • Paul Halsall

    The Bible accepts polygamy.

  • Anonymous

    I recon they are the same person!

  • Anonymous

    Love the touchline debating society posturing: so entertaining.  Having flagged up a conditionally weakened free kick, you proceed to condemn unsophisticated foul play all over the pitch, protesting loudly that the opposition is so uncultured, whilst expecting that your own ‘professional’ fouls are to be considered legitimate in the eyes of the referee.

    Whatever happened to the beautiful game? 

    Appealing to the linesmen to prefer one’s own style of gamesmanship is a tad disingenuous, don’t you think?

  • Jane Brady

    Well on that premise, you may well be the same person as Charles Martell and Honeybadger. However and as always your suspicions are meaningless. Maybe everyone who disagrees with Charles Martel might be the same person, in some kind of conspiracy. Why do do not have them all excommunicated forthwith? Clear the lot out in one go. That would be very catholic indeed.

  • Gerry Walsh

    I do not have the slightest idea what you mean. If you have something worthwhile to express please do so, but why do you not present an articulate and concise explanation of what your intention. This sort of rambling serves no purpose.

  • Anonymous

    I might well be. So many questions Mrs Brady. You do so remind me of the “Viz” character!

  • John Byrne

    Well I’m not Jane Brady or any of the others and I’m a Catholic.
    I come from a long line of Catholics which has produced Parish Priests, a Vicar General and Jesuits.Why do I spend some time on this website? Well because I’m truly horrified by the utter nonsense which sometimes comes from ignorant, so-called traditional, cradle Catholics.
    I am also often deeply disappointed by the traditional, unthinking out-pourings of some of the Hierarchy.
    I know well that there are other views among the Hierarchy in this country, in the US and in the Vatican.
    It is high-time they spoke with louder voices.

  • Jane Brady

    What is meant by Viz? Is it a drink?
    You are becoming bizarre in your allusions. Please make yourself clear!

  • Fifi

    You’re correct, popular acceptance of something does not not make it morally right. Popular (according to this poll) acceptance of restricting marriage to heterosexuals would be a good example of that, if it were true.

  • Charles Martel

    I’m beginning to think so too, teigitur. There is something truly creepy happening here.

  • Charles Martel

    Sounds like the computer ‘Hal’ in ’2001: A Space Odyssey’. Perhaps all these chaps are really just anti-Catholic bots.

  • Jane Brady

    Oh, I have just found out what you meant by Viz. It is a smutty, coarse and crude magazine for the semi-illiterate and unsophisticated. I had no idea, but now it clarifies why the content of your posts are so vulgar tasteless and ill-mannered. You have my word that I will never respond to any of your ignorant ranting again. You are a fine role model, I must say, for the sacred tenets of the Catholic Church. I am a Catholic and I would not contaminate my mind with such sickness, and then pretend to be full of sweetness and light. You are Charles Martell are the same person because you both issue the same hate and belligerence.

  • South Saxon

    If the obscenity of same-sex “marriage” comes about, will consanguinity be a legal bar? What depths of depravity do same-sex couples and wishy-washy liberals wish to impose on society? 

  • Anonymous

     well, sure, that’s what many people would choose… if I weren’t a Catholic I’d probably be a rampant hedonist. Whether that’s the best way to live your life is a different question.

    Also… If the faith is diminishing, as you say, or believed by fewer people throughout the world… consider the Catholic Church’s claim to truth: if this is the case, would the fact that it is unfashionable, or unpopular make it any less true?

  • Anonymous

    Indeed it is Mrs Brady. I read it many years ago when I was a coarse, crude, semi-LITERATE!!( not semi-illiterate, that makes no sense), student.
     What a shame there will be no more reposts from you, you are always amusing in your rage. 

  • Anonymous

     well that’s fine… I agree that religion shouldn’t be forced on anyone. But that’s not really the point in question.

  • Harry McCracken

    You seem to be of the opinion that faith and belief in God are he same thing, they are not.  I never said that faith was diminishing, I said that human beings belief in a Deity (God) was diminishing fast, because the precepts on which Christianity are based are groundless and are no longer sustainable. I now possess more faith in the integrity of humanity today that when I was at the seminary. Then I believed what I had been indoctrinated to believe, but I did not have any faith. However, I soon came to understand that belief and faith are not the same thing. There is no point in you trying to skew or pervert the point that I made: Faith is on the increase, but belief in the biblical God and the precepts of the Nicene creed are in the decline because they do not make any sense.

  • Dave Corrigan

    What a petty person you are. It is probable that she wrote illiterate and then changed her mind, and made a mistake, and wrote semi-illiterate. However it is possible that she has worked overseas where the term semi-illiterate is in common use, particularly in north America. Again you display evidence of your poor education and literary skills, and again you jump the gun in haste. Poor boy.

  • Anonymous

    OK. That’s a distinction I didn’t detect in your post. Sorry. I certainly think that belief in the precepts of the Nicene Creed requires faith… and I think they also make a lot of sense, both philosophically and practically.

    I’m not sure I understand you though. What do you mean when you say that faith is increasing? what faith?

  • John Byrne

    The significant point about focus groups and polls, carried out by political Parties themselves, is that they are carefully designed to be as genuinely informative as possible. The particular political Party really DOES want to know if you love them or hate them, or approve or disapprove of some particular idea or policy.

    And yes, there is bigotry and silliness to be found within religions followed mainly by small minority groups, in addition to that among Catholics and other Christians. I’m sure Mr Maude knows this.

    Re. “The Party” – I cannot imagine what your interest is here.However, the capital “T” is there because it commences a sentence and the capital “P” because I am sure the Conservative Party has a party from time to time.  Grammatically, I’m sure the “T” is essential, while the “P” is optional. 

    I’m not a Tory activist or Tory Party member, if that’s what you’re getting at. I mention the Tory Party because it is the dominant part of the present government which is going to try to pass the necessary legislation. The Labour Party is strongly in favour of it too, as are the Lib Dems.

  • Joe Tam

    I reckon there are 2 people who comment on this website and everyone else is a sock puppet.

  • Kyriakos

    Happy to
    know that you now agree to my opinion.

    Popular opinion,
    legality or general trend of the time does not make something morally right or
    wrong nor morally complete or incomplete.

    So a poll where the
    majority believe (if it is in fact correct) marriage should be restricted to heterosexual
    marriages does not necessarily mean that the argument is a morally wrong or

  • Harry McCracken

    I meditate every night and every morning. I have absolute blind faith in that I am in tune with something that cannot be explained, and I do not try to name it or understand it. I just accept with blind faith like a four old child on Christmas eve night that Santa Claus will come. I do not apply reason or logic, I just accept this phenomenon called peace of mind. I do endeavour to understand the concept in neurobiological terms, and I accept the complexity of the limbic system and neurotransmission and neurochemistry. There is no outward Deity , angels saints or other spiritual beings influencing me as the Catholic church dictates. I suppose, I adopt the basic principles of Buddhism