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Same-sex marriage in Canada

Public opinion polls: 2006 to now

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See also descriptions of polls for other years
We use the term "SSM" to refer to same-sex marriage

Overview:

A Canadian battle over whether same-sex couples should be allowed to marry was at least temporarily settled in 2005-OCT, when federal bill C-38 was signed into law. In theory, it allowed same-sex couples to marry anywhere in Canada. However Prince Edward Island, arguably the most conservative province on matters related to homosexuality initially refused to honor the federal law. That province fell into line during 2005-AUG.

Early in 2006, federal elections returned the Conservative Party to power. One item on their agenda is to ask Parliament whether they wish to re-open the SSM debate. By mid-2006, over 10,000 same-sex couples had married in Canada. Prime Minister Harper held a vote in the House of Commons in the fall of 2006; parliament decided to not reopen the question. Harper stated that the topic is now dead, and that he will not open it up for further discussion in the future. As of mid-2013, -- almost 8 years after SSM became available across Canada -- he has kept his promise.

An Environics poll in mid-2006 showed an amazing jump in Canadian support for SSM. It appears that SSM has become an accepted part of the Canadian culture.

2006-JUN-19: Environics Research Group issues poll results:

Their poll indicates that Canadians are increasingly accepting of same-sex marriage and are overwhelmingly opposed to reopening the matter in Parliament.

Results were:

bulletQuestion 1: "One Year Ago, Parliament Voted To Give Same-Sex Couples Across Canada The Same Right To Civil Marriage As Opposite-Sex Couples. Should The Conservative Government Re-Open This Issue And Have Another Vote On This Or Do You Consider This Matter To Be Settled So There Should Not Be Another Vote?"
bullet62% consider SSM to be a settled matter;
bullet27% want SSM reopened and debated once more in Parliament;
bullet9% had no opinion;
bullet2% did not reply.

bulletOnly 38% of Conservative Party voters favored reopening the issue; 52% were opposed.
 
bulletQuestion 2: "In principle, do you strongly agree, somewhat agree or somewhat disagree or strongly disagree that same-sex couples should have the same right to civil marriage as opposite-sex couples?"
bullet36% strongly agreed;
bullet 23% somewhat agreed; together; a total of 59% agreed
bullet9% somewhat disagreed;
bullet 23% strongly disagreed; together; a total of 32% disagreed
bullet6% had no opinion;
bullet2% did not reply.

bulletAmong Conservative Party voters, 48% agreed with marriage equality; 47% disagreed.

bulletAmong Liberal Party voters, 67% agreed with marriage equality; 26% disagreed. 1

These are truly remarkably large and rapid changes since SSM became available across Canada in 2005.

Derek Leebosh of Environics said:

"This latest polling demonstrates that overall opposition to equal marriage has declined since passage of the federal legislation. In addition, the strength of the opposition that remains has also fallen and this drop was even more pronounced among Conservative voters, where strong opponents have fallen from 46% to 35." 2

Laurie Arron, National Coordinator of Canadians for Equal Marriage, the agency that commissioned the poll, said:

"These polls confirm what we already knew -- that 2/3 of Canadians consider the matter settled and want to move on. While equality for minority groups should never be subject to the tyranny of the majority, it?s encouraging that so many Canadians, and so many Conservative voters, are against having another vote."

"With many same-sex couples celebrating their third anniversary this month, I think it's obvious to Canadians that equal marriage hasn't hurt anyone. There's simply no reason to re-open this divisive debate." 2

Poll data was collected between 2006-MAY-25 and JUN-02. The survey sampled the opinion of 2,001 randomly selected Canadian adults. The margin of error is ±2.1 percentage points.

2009-MAY Robbins SCE Research poll results:

Between 2009-MAY-28 and JUN-05, Robbins sampled the opinion of 2,230 Canadians. This is considerably larger sampling than most public opinion pollsters use. As a result, the margin of error is less than ±2 percentage points.

Unfortunately, the poll had some of the features of a "push-poll." This is a type of poll that uses cleverly designed questions to persuade the subject to respond in a certain way. For example, their question #2 appears to have been written to obtain a negative response towards same-sex marriages (SSMs). Rather than ask if the subject favored the right of same-sex couples to marry, it asked whether Canada should follow a court decision in California. They asked:

"The California state court has upheld a proposition vote to ban same sex marriages. In your opinion should Canada reverse its current position to allow same sex marriages-- and ban them as well?"

Results were:

bullet48% no
bullet32% yes
bullet20% uncertain or refused to answer. 3

Unfortunately, the highly biased nature of the questions make the data essentially unusable. This is a pity because there are few polls that have been conducted since SSM was made available in mid-2005.

2012-JUL: The Forum Research Poll results:

Seven years after SSM was legalized across Canada, Forum Research sampled 2,694 adults by telephone. The margin of error is ±1.9 percentage points.

Support for same-sex marriage was highest in Quebec at 72.0%, British Columbia at 70.2% and Ontario at 68.0%. It was lowest in the Atlantic provinces at 65.7%, Manitoba and Saskatchewan at 63.9% and Alberta at 45.6%. The national average was 66.4%. 33.6% disapprove of SSM.

As with polls elsewhere in North America:

  • Persons under 45 years-of-age were the most supportive of SSM; Seniors over 64 years-of-age were the least supportive at 54.8%.
  • Females were more supportive at 72.2%; males less so at 60.5. 4,5

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Related essays in this web site include:

bullet Information about Canadian polls on other lesbian/gay topics
 
bulletCanadian legislation and court battles about same-sex marriage and civil unions

References:

  1. "Canadians for Equal Marriage June 2006," Press Release, Environics Research Group, at: http://erg.environics.net/
  2. "Environics Poll: Opposition to equal marriage falls sharply; Canadians are more than 2 to 1 against re-opening," Canadians for Equal Marriage, 2006-JUN-19, at: http://www.equal-marriage.ca/
  3. "Canadians on Social Issues," Robbins SCE Research, 2009-JUN-06, at: http://www.robbinssceresearch.com/
  4. Kathryn Carlson, "The true north LGBT: New poll reveals landscape of gay Canada, National Post, 2012-JUL-06, at: http://news.nationalpost.com/
  5. "One twentieth of Canadians claim to be LGBT," News Release, Forum Research, 2012-JUN-28 at http://www.forumresearch.com

Copyright © 2006 to 2013 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally published: 2006-JUN-30
Latest update: 2013-JUN-16
Author: B.A. Robinson

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