Map where Same-Sex Marriage is legalA Global Study provides us with some food for thought by comparing people’s views in different counties about gay marriage, legal recognition of same-sex relationships and adoption by same-sex couples.

Although the majority of Australians support same-sex marriage, the support here is still lower than in many other countries with Australia ranking 10th according to a new 16-country study by market research company Ipsos.

Ipsos surveyed more than 12,000 adults in 16 countries about gay marriage, legal recognition of same-sex relationships and adoption by same-sex couples.

The findings revealed that the country’s most in support of same-sex couples were Sweden, Norway and Spain, while the least supportive were South Korea, Hungary and Japan. Australians were less supportive than those in Great Britain and Canada, but more supportive than those in the US.

Falling roughly in the middle, 54% of Australians said they supported same-sex marriage and a further 20% said they supported some form of legal recognition but not marriage. More than two thirds, or 67%, agreed that ‘same-sex couples should have the same rights to adopt children as heterosexual couples do’ (compared to an average of 59% across the 16 countries), placing Australia in 5th place on this issue.

Further, 72% of Australian respondents agreed that ‘same-sex couples are just as likely as other parents to successfully raise children, compared to the study average of 64%.

Although these findings may be disheartening, Ipsos Mind & Mood Executive Director Dr Rebecca Huntley says “One of the most interesting findings of the survey is how attitudes toward same-sex relationships have evolved.”

“One-third of Australians we surveyed said their views on same-sex marriage were different than they were five years ago. We also found that women, unmarried people and active social media users were all significantly more likely to support gay marriage.” States Dr Huntley

Globally, females (77%, compared to 69% of males) and the unmarried (76% compared to 69% of those married) were most likely to support gay marriage.

Those who said they had no religion were also more likely to support gay marriage than the religious (77% compared to 61% supporting), as were those who said they have a work colleague, close friend or relative who is gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender (82% compared to 53% among those who did not).

Australia was in 4th place in terms of the proportion stating that their views on same-sex marriage have changed.  Half (50%) of those surveyed in Argentina said that their views on same sex-marriage are different than they were five years ago, followed by 47% of those in South Korea and 36% of those in Japan.

Based on the findings from this study, I would have to say that Australia still has a long way to go in its support of same-sex marriage.

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