According to a new survey that is the largest of its kind ever conducted, 85% of LGBTIQ Australians oppose a plebiscite on marriage equality, with 71.5% strongly opposed. The large sample of nearly 5,500 people showed opposition to a plebiscite was strong for both men and women, for every age group and in every state and territory.
An overwhelming majority oppose a plebiscite under any circumstances including if it will be ‘fairly framed’ and has ‘a good chance of success’ (62.6%) or is the only way marriage equality can be achieved under this Government (57.8%). When LGBTIQ people were asked what advocacy groups should focus on, more than 78.3% wanted them to stop a plebiscite and then work for a successful vote in parliament. Only 15.9% wanted advocacy groups to campaign for a “yes” vote.
Funded by Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, the survey which was also endorsed by new LGBTIQ advocacy group, just.equal. The survey of 5,463 LGBTIQ Australians was designed by social scientist, Dr Sharon Dane, who worked on the survey in a private capacity.
Respondents were recruited from across Australia by professional survey company, Content First, and through community media, religious groups, sporting clubs, business networks, parenting groups and social clubs, ensuring it represents a broad cross section of the LGBTIQ community.
“The missing voice in the plebiscite debate has been the LGBTIQ community. Now they have spoken and emphatically said ‘NO’ to a plebiscite under any circumstances,” said National spokesperson, Shelley Argent. “The survey confirms that groups like PFLAG and just.equal are doing the right thing by actively working to stop and plebiscite and secure a free vote, especially given the very good chance a plebiscite will be set up to fail.”
“It’s now time for groups representing the LGBTIQ community to unite behind what that community has clearly said it wants. If Mr Turnbull goes ahead with a plebiscite it’s not for the LGBTIQ community’s sake, it’s for the sake of anti-equality groups and for his own sake.”
Long-time marriage equality advocate, Rodney Croome, said, “The LGBTIQ community understands a plebiscite will delay marriage equality, not expedite it, and will damage the lives of vulnerable LGBTIQ people, not improve them. There are clear concerns about the indignity of our rights being subject to a show of hands and the negative impact of hate speech on the mental health of LGBTIQ people, especially when the plebiscite result won’t be binding.”
“I strongly believe the Government’s line that it’s a plebiscite or nothing is a false choice and that it is possible to stop a plebiscite and have a free vote if sane heads prevail in Government ranks and in the Senate. We will be taking the results of this survey to all MPs and senators in the coming weeks.”
Feedback from participants at the end of the survey showed that the two most common reasons that people opposed a plebiscite were anxiety of hate campaigns and the strong belief that minority rights should never be put to a popular vote.
“This is the largest survey of its kind ever conducted, with the survey attracting 5,463 respondents in just one week,” said Dr Dane. “The use of multiple recruitment strategies, including the services of a professional marketing company, and the wide demographic distribution of the participants, indicate the survey represents a broad cross-section of the Australian LGBTIQ community.”