More than three in five British voters support prime minister David Cameron’s wish to introduce gay marriage, according to a poll conducted for the Guardian newspaper.
The strong backing for a change in the
law comes after the Archbishop of Westminster queried the democratic
legitimacy of the coalition plans.
Vincent Nichols, head of the
Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, used his Christmas Day
message to attack the “shambolic” process that could soon put same-sex
weddings on the statute book.
“There was no announcement in any
party manifesto, there’s been no green paper . . . yet here we are on
the verge of primary legislation,” Dr Nichols told the BBC.
also lashed out at David Cameron, accusing him of rushing through
legislation for which he had no mandate and which was “a bit of a sham”.
the prime minister has said, ‘where there is love and commitment, then
that’s all that you need for marriage’ . . . but I think that’s very
shallow thinking, and it’s a shame that these matters have not been
given much, much more thought,” he said.
The plans also came under
fire from a high court judge, who said the government should instead be
looking at the “crisis of family breakdown”.
Sir Paul Coleridge said too much time had been put into the debate for “0.1 per cent of the population”.
ICM poll just before Christmas found 62 per cent of voters support the
proposals, with 31 per cent opposed. Most previous polls have found
opinion leaning the same way, although the two-to-one margin is
An ICM online survey for the Sunday
Telegraph in March asked the identical question – which reminds people
that civil partnerships already exist for gay couples – and established a
45-36 per cent lead for the reformers.
Mr Cameron’s embrace of
gay marriage has proved controversial, not only with religious leaders
but also with the Conservative backbench.
However the new poll
reveals a significant swing towards the reform; although Labour and
Liberal Democrat supporters are more likely to support gay marriage,
there is now a majority among Conservative supporters.
who voted Tory in 2010, gay marriage now enjoys 52-42 per cent backing,
a big turnaround from ICM’s survey in March, which recorded 50-35 per
Both men and women support gay marriage, although
the majority is bigger among female voters, 65 per cent compared with
58 per cent of men.
differences emerge across the age ranges.
The over-65s resist the
proposal, by 58-37 per cent, but support is stronger in younger age
The pro-reform majority is 64 per cent among 35-64s, 75 per cent
among 25-34s, and an overwhelming 77 per cent among 18-24 year olds.
Research interviewed a random sample of 1,002 adults countrywide in
Results were weighted to the profile of all adults.