Under New Zealand law same sex couples can have their relationship recognised in law by entering a civil union. Same sex partners cannot marry. Recently, the State of New York made it possible for same sex partners to marry, which created some interest here in New Zealand.
Research New Zealand asked a question in their most recent social poll to establish the attitudes of New Zealanders to same sex marriages.
Some 60 percent of New Zealanders 18 years and over believe that same sex marriages should be permitted in New Zealand; 34 percent are opposed. Two percent state that there is little or no difference between civil unions and marriage; a further two percent do not know.
Females are in favour of same sex marriages to a larger extent than males by 66 percent to 54 percent. Likewise, a higher proportion of males than females oppose same sex marriages at 41 percent to 27. The attitude to same sex marriage is strongly related to age group; in the age group 15–34 years, 70 percent are in favour compared to 44 percent among those 55 years and over.
There were no significant differences in attitude between respondents in other demographics such as ethnicity, area, income.
“This shows that attitudes in this area are in advance of legislation”, said Research New Zealand Director Emanuel Kalafatelis.
The Research New Zealand poll of 500 people aged 18 and over was conducted by telephone on 6–9 July 2011. The maximum margin of error for the sample as a whole is +/- 4.6 % (at the 95% confidence level). The data has been weighted to ensure it is an accurate representation of New Zealand’s general population. The poll was not taken on behalf of any organization, but as part of Research New Zealand’s monthly survey of attitudes and opinions.