Labor and same-sex relationships

At its conference last week, the ALP endorsed national legislation

which [would] allow same-sex couples to register their relationship and secure legal recognition of their relationship in areas such as property rights and superannuation benefits.

As usual, the idea did not please everyone:

The national secretary of the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association, Joe de Bruyn, said the Tasmanian scheme [on which the policy is modelled] gave same-sex couples the same status as married couples, which would demean and undermine marriage. …

He said the policy would be poorly received in suburban Australia and would make it harder for the Opposition Leader, Kevin Rudd, to win the 16 seats that Labor needed to defeat the Howard Government.

We’ve discussed the rather difficult-to-detect logic of the first claim before, and some newly unembargoed questions from the Australian Survey of Social Attitudes 2005 enable us to consider the second, at least if we consider it a near-equivalent to civil unions.

The overall result, with 48% of respondents being in favour of civil unions, was consistent with two other polls on the issue, which registered 45% and 52% support. As is common with questions on this subject, there was a big ‘neither agree nor disagree’ response of 19%, suggesting that this is still an open debate for many people. A third are opposed to civil unions.
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