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Legal Marriage Surveys in Canada
© December 24, 2006, Demian

The following polls are on legal marriage availability for same-sex couples, as well as on related attitudes toward gay men and lesbians.

Many pollsters have used the phrase “gay marriage” which is inaccurate and misleading. A better term would be “legal marriage for same-sex couples.”

When getting a marriage license, opposite-sex couples are not asked if they are straight. Their sexual orientation is not known. The same is true for legal marriages that are offered to same-sex couples. The marriage discrimination is based on the perceived biological sex of the couple, not their orientation.

We do not include any Web-gathered surveys because they are not scientific in that they are self-selective, only available to a certain economic class, sample far too narrowly. Also, because one party could make multiple votes, and because the polls have been subject to program hacking, they have been proven to be grossly unreliable. Web surveys cannot be used to accurately measure public attitude, particularly on volatile issues.

While right-wing, extremist theocrats give the impression that it is the will of the people to express their terror of legal marriage for same-sex couples, the following polls reflect a different story. They show that there has been, through the years, growing support for the notion that same-sex couples deserve equal treatment.

Successful court cases during the late 90s and 2000s have driven Canada toward a far greater equality for same-sex couples, including the availability of legal marriage.
[Please see our article: Canada Offers Legal Marriage]

Canadian Polls

———— 1998 ————

= Alberta Premier Ralph Klein’s government
Conducted November-December 1998
Released March 1999
Conducted by Longwoods International
1,000 Alberta respondents

Legal marriage:
   56% opposed
   39% supported
    5% undecided

= Canadian Justice Department
Conducted 1998
Conducted by Angus Reid Group

Recognition of same-sex partnerships:
   74% supported federal social benefits for same-sex couples
   69% supported income benefits and obligations
   67% supported full equality with common-law
      opposite-sex couples
   59% supported use of the word “spouse” for
      same-sex partners
   84% gay men and lesbians should be protected
      from discrimination
   71% supported extending the benefits of common-law
      relationships to all economically interdependent couples

———— 1999 ————

= Globe & Mail
Conducted May 25-May 30, 1999
Released June 10, 1999
Conducted by Angus Reid Group
1,500 Canadian adults by telephone

53% supported legal marriage for same-sex couples
44% opposed legal marriage for same-sex couples
3% didn’t know or were undecided

   Breakdown for support of legal marriage:
         61% in Quebec
         54% in British Columbia
         53% in Ontario
         48% in Atlantic Canada
         43% in Alberta
         42% in Saskatchewan and Manitoba
         66% aged 18-34
         57% aged 35-54
         32% aged 55+
         59% with university degrees
         38% had not completed high school

———— 2001 ————

= Environics Research Group
Conducted April 5-24, 2001
Reported in the National Post, May 2001
2,035 adult Canadians
Margin of error +-2.2%

1. Currently, gay and lesbian couples have the same treatment under
Canadian federal law as common-law heterosexual couples. Would you
strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose or strongly oppose
allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry?

55% approve legal marriage for same-sex couples
   29% strongly support
   26% somewhat support
   73% support - aged 18-29
   35% support - aged over 60
41% oppose extending legal marriage
   30% strongly oppose
   11% somewhat oppose
4% have no opinion

Support for same-sex marriage was strongest among women, younger people,
those with higher annual household incomes and those with post-secondary
education. Opposition is concentrated among those over the age of 60 and
those with less than a high school education. Support is also stronger
in Quebec (69%), and in British Columbia (60%). Support is
weakest in Saskatchewan and Alberta (43% each). In Ontario,
support is just below the national average at 50%.

2. Do you personally strongly approve, somewhat approve, somewhat
disapprove or strongly disapprove of homosexuality?

44% approve of homosexuality
      [3% increase from 1999, and a 22% jump from 1996]
   21% strongly approve
   23% somewhat approve
37% disapprove of homosexuality
      [11% drop since 1996]
   24% strongly disapprove
   13% somewhat disapprove
16% are neutral regarding homosexuality
      [down 13 points since 1999]

Approval was highest among women, younger people, those with higher
incomes and those with post-secondary education, as well as among
Quebecers. Disapproval of homosexuality was highest among men,
those over the age of 60, those with low levels of education and
residents of Saskatchewan and Alberta. Well over half of supporters
of the Canadian Alliance (58%) disapprove of homosexuality
-- a far higher proportion than that found among supporters of
any of the other four federal parties
   Progressive Conservative:
      41% disapprove
      34% disapprove
      32% disapprove
   Bloc Québécois:
      9% disapprove

= Léger Marketing
Conducted June 5-13, 2001
Released July 16, 2001
1,507 English- or French-speaking Canadians, 18 or older, by telephone
Margin of error +-2.6%

65.4% approve of same-sex marriage
74.5% approve of the same tax breaks for
    same-sex couples as for opposite-sex couples
53.1% approve of adoption rights
    for gay men and lesbians
18.6% do not agree with granting any of
    the above rights to gay men and lesbians

Gay people should have the same rights as heterosexuals:
      85.5% (5.3% no response)
      85.5% (2.5% no response)
   British Columbia:
      76.5% (5.5% no response)
      71.5% (3.7% no response)
      69.8% (6.4% no response)
      67.3% (6.4% no response)
      67.3% (6.4% no response)

Note: At this time, same-sex adoptions were allowed in Ontario, B.C.,
and Alberta, with Alberta including its provision under an allowance
for same-sex, stepparents.]

———— 2002 ————

= Pollara
Conducted shortly after July 12, 2002
Released July 2002
Conducted for the Liberal party, when the Ontario court ruled that
denying same-sex couples the right to marry was unconstitutional.

48% of Canadians favor granting marriage rights
43% oppose
9% no opinion

65% aged 25-34 favor expanding the legal
    definition of marriage to same-sex couples
61% of those 18-34 also agree

= Maclean’s Magazine & Canwest Global Communications
Conducted November 1-12, 2002
Conducted by Strategic Counsel, Toronto
1,400 adult Canadians by telephone
Margin of error +-3.1%

Giving gay men and lesbians the right to marry:
   49% approve
   46% disapprove
    5% don’t know

            55% approved
            39% approved
            65% approved
         British Columbia
            54% approved
         Atlantic Canada:
            42% approved
            41% approved
            40% approved

Allowing same-sex couples the right to adopt:
   48% supported
   46% opposed
    6% don’t know

———— 2006 ————

= The Strategic Counsel and The Globe and Mail
Conducted December 3, 2006
Released by CTV on December 6, 2006
Telephone interviews with 1,000 Canadian adults
Margin of error 3.1%

Would you vote for keep or repeal the same-sex marriage law?
            December 2006   July 2005
To keep               58%         55%
To repeal             36%         39%
Don’t know             5%          6%

We welcome additional information with verifying citations.
© 2006, Demian
Please do not copy by any print or electronic media.

Companion Survey Articles

Governments that offer Full Legal Marriage

    Netherlands (2001)
    Belgium (2003)
    Canada (2005)
    Spain (2005)
    South Africa (2005)
    Norway (2009)
    Sweden (2009)
    Iceland (2010)
    Argentina (2010)
    Portugal (2010)
    Denmark (2012)
    France (2013)
    New Zealand (2013)
    Brazil (2013)
    Uruguay (2013)
    New Zealand (2013)
    United Kingdom
      (England, Wales, Scotland) (2013)
    Luxembourg (2014)
    Finland (2014)
    Ireland (2015)
    United States (2015)
    Colombia (2016)
    Germany (2017)
    Taiwan (2017)
    Malta (2017)
US States & Territories

    Massachusetts (2004)
    California (2008)
    Connecticut (2008)
    Iowa (2009)
    Vermont (2009)
    New Hampshire (2009)
    District of Columbia (2009)
    New York (2011)
    Maine (2012)
    Washington (2012)
    Maryland (2013)
    Rhode Island (2013)
    Delaware (2013)
    Minnesota (2013)
    Illinois (2013)
    Utah (2013)
    New Jersey (2013)
    Hawaii (2013)
    New Mexico (2013)
    Michigan (2014) - stayed pending legal challenge
    Oregon (2014)
    Wisconsin (2014)

    Arkansas (2014) - stayed pending legal challenge
    Pennsylvania (2014)
    Indiana (2014)
    Nevada (2014)
    Virginia (2014)
    Oklahoma (2014)
    Idaho (2014)
    West Virginia (2014)
    Alaska (2014)
    Arizona (2014)
    Wyoming (2014)
    Kansas (2014) - stayed pending legal challenge
    Florida (2014)
    Colorado (2014)
    North Carolina (2014)
    South Carolina (2014)
    Montana (2014)
    Alabama (2015)
    U.S. Supreme Court (June 26, 2015):
      Ruling: All U.S. States must now
      allow same-sex couples the
      freedom of legal marriage.
Native American Tribes

    Coquille Tribe, Oregon (2009)
    Mashantucket Pequot, Connecticut (2011)
    Suquamish Tribe, Washington (2011)
    Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, Washington (2013)
    Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, Minnesota (2013)
    Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, Michigan (2013)
    Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, Michigan (2013)
    Santa Ysabel Tribe, California (2013)
    Confederated Tribes of the Colville Nation, Washington (2013)
    Cheyenne, Oklahoma (2013)
    Arapaho, Oklahoma (2013)
    Leech Lake Tribal Court, Minnesota (2013)
    Puyallup Tribe, Washington (2914)
    Wind River Indian Reservation, Wyoming (2014)
    Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, Michigan, (2014)
    Colville Confederated Tribes, Washington (2014)
    Central Council of Tlingit, Alaska (2015)
    Haida Indian Tribes, Alaska (2015)

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