About same-gender marriage


Same-gender marriage is the legal union of two people of the same gender. Same-sex unions have occurred all around the world throughout history. In any case, legislation prohibiting such social unions did not become prevalent until the beginning of the twenty-first century. “As late as 2015, only 17 countries had laws enabling same-sex couples to marry legally.” Gerstmann (2017) stated that In recent decades, the rights to same-sex relational unions have been a contentious debate topic in international political and religious arenas. Many people oppose same-sex relational relationships because it violates parental concerns, religious beliefs, and tradition. Different groups have different attitudes towards the idea of same-sex marriage, for example, Caucasians are more accepting of it whereas African, Asians, and Arabs are less likely to encourage same sex marriage. In a world as open-minded as ours, some countries and regions are only now taking steps to make same-sex marriages legal.

Australia's Same-Sex Marriage Debate

The official acknowledgment of same-sex marriages has been on Australia’s political debate for decades. Australian law on marriage has undergone several amendments intended to give same-sex couples same rights as hetero couples in social aspects, for example, health, tax, and employment. However, a national universal union or marriage plot has not incorporated same sex couples. Most states in Australia such as Queensland, New South Wales, ACT, Victoria, and Tasmania, have by-laws allowing same sex marriages. The passing into law “The Marriage Equality (Same Sex) Act 2013” in the ACT (the first Australian state to authorize same-sex marriage) was a significant step in the pro same-sex marriage activism. However, the ruling by High Court revoked the law as invalid. A 2011 public survey revealed a 57 percent of the general Australian public supported the idea of same sex relationship. A substantial 43 percent of the citizens resented the idea (Shackley, Weiner, Day, & Willis, 2014). Therefore, the primary concern of this particular study is to use qualitative data in analyzing the attitude of Australian citizens towards same sex marriage after the High Court revoked the marriage Equality law.


To examine the attitude of Australian citizens towards same sex marriage after the invalidation of the “Marriage Equality Law,” the research will focus on finding answers to the following questions:

What percentage supports the court ruling?

What percent of conservatives supports the idea of same sex marriage?

What percent of liberals in Australia supports the idea of same sex marriage?

How does the support of same sex marriage vary across different religions (Christians and non-Christians)?

The answers to these questions will enable the researcher to establish the attitude of various groups in Australia towards gay, lesbian or same sex marriage.

Literature Review

A study by Sherkat, De Vries & Creek (2010) assessed the role played by religion in causing sharp contrasting support for same sex marriage. The study explored how religion plays an important function in ideological differences among races, and the effects secular factors have different attitudes for black and white Americans. The researchers obtained the data from General Social Surveys and employed Ordinal Logistics Regression Models in the estimation of the support (Sherkat, De Vries & Creek, 2010). The study established the existence of a strong positive relationship between race and Protestant religious denomination on attitudes towards same sex marriage. Moreover, the results indicated variations in race and the influence of politics and education on the support of same sex relationship. However, the study was carried out in the US, and therefore, there exists a need for a similar study in Australia.

Another study examined the relationship between attitudes towards same sex marriage and the several aspects of religion among the US Latino (Ellison, Acevedo & Ramos‑Wada, 2011). The study considered variations by participation and affiliation, the role of biblical doctrine and cues of religious leaders in influencing political view on the issue of same sex marriage. The study adopted binary logistic regression models in the analysis of the data obtained from the nationwide sample of U.S. Latinos conducted by the Pew Hispanic Forum in 2006 (Ellison, Acevedo & Ramos‑Wada, 2011). The results indicated a strong objection to the idea of same sex relationship among conservative Latinos particularly Evangelical Protestants. The survey focused on American Latinos, and thus the results cannot be generalized to the Australian Protestants.

Research by Baunach (2012) concentrated on the trend in attitudes on same sex marriage using Ordinary Least Squares regression of the data extracted from the General Social Survey between the periods 1988 and 2010. The survey indicates an increased receptibility to the same sex marriage over the years. According to the results of the analysis, arguments for same sex marriages has taken a much wider base, and the opposition to the same sex marriage has been reduced to localities by 2010. Conservative groups such as the Republicans, Evangelical Protestants, African-Americans and older Americans remained adamant to recognize same sex marriage (Baunach, 2012). In as much as the study highlighted the trend in same sex marriage attitudes, it was carried out the US. An examination of the trend in attitudes towards same sex marriages in the US elicits an exciting area of similar study in the pre- and post “Marriage Equality Law” revocation in Australia.

A study by Whitehead (2014) employed path models of simultaneous equations and the data from Baylor Religious Survey (2010) to test the attitudes of Americans towards same sex marriage. The results showed that current thoughts on the controllability and origin of homosexuality significantly determines the support for the idea of same sex relationships. The study, however, concluded that the sentiments towards same sex relationships are socially implanted in religious ideologies and political affiliations (Whitehead, 2014). However, the study used secondary data in determining the relationships which leave a gap for the use of primary data in Australia.

Observational research into states of mind towards homosexuality in Australia is mostly non-existent. Apparently, no national survey much the same as the US General Social Surveys have been carried out in Australia. The only study on attitude towards same sex marriage taken by Morgan in 1974 and 1989 and the results showed a little augmentation in the degree of the nationals supporting the enactment of homosexuality. In comparison, 43% of the US natives maintained the law in 1977 and 47% of every 1989 (Mason and Barr, 2006). “In 1989 Western Australia was the most liberal state with 74% of the general population supporting the legitimization of male homosexuality, while Tasmania was the minimum tolerant, with only 47% for the legitimization.” (Mason & Barr, 2006) Several sociological studies (Sherkat, De Vries & Creek, 2010; Ellison, Acevedo & Ramos‑Wada, 2011; Baunach, 2012; Whitehead, 2014; Gaines & Garand, 2010) have concentrated in attitudes towards same sex marriage. Of these studies, none has used qualitative data in analyzing the Australian citizens’ attitude towards same sex marriage particularly after the High Court ruled against the “Marriage Equality Law.” The majority of existing studies focus on the general population attitude towards same sex marriage based on the arguments for and against the idea. However, the issue of liberals, religious and conservatives position has not been addressed in the case of Australia.

Significance of the Research

The research is relevant for psychology students focusing on relational studies particularly homosexuality and how the people’s attitude affects the idea of same sex marriage in Australia. The students can use findings of this study to understand the relationship between religion, political affiliation and attitude towards same sex marriage. Besides, the research has significant implications for researchers that are trying to explore homosexuality in Australia and the rest of the world. Legislators and law creation institutions can use the findings in this study to compare existing legislation and the attitudes of the population to understand their orientation and find opportunities for improvement in the law. Governments can also borrow some of the findings and recommendations from this study in developing rules governing same sex marriage. Finally, religious leaders can use the results of the research in understanding the attitude of their followers towards homosexuality.

Research Methodology


The study will use purposeful sampling (Patton, 2002) in the selection of a sample of 250 participants. Information obtained from the websites of institutions of higher learning show that in every college the population comprises of liberals, conservatives, Christians, and non-Christians. The researcher will look for articulations of enthusiasm from each in Queensland University. From articulations of intrigue responded to, the researcher will choose a sample of 250 participants that represent the liberals, conservatives, Christians and none- Christians.

Sampling Method

The study will employ non-probability convenience sampling technique due to time and budget constraints. Convenience sampling refers to recruiting participants based on proximity or the convenience of the researcher to access research participants as near as possible.


As stated in the introduction, the study will involve analysis of qualitative data. The reasoning behind choosing the qualitative method of research is due to the nature of the research. The study will be based on unmeasurable attributes, and therefore qualitative research will be the most appropriate method. Attitudes cannot be measured in numbers, but qualitative data can be derived from view.

Data Collection Methods

The research will involve the use of closed ended questionnaires. The reason for the utilization of a closed-ended questionnaire is that it is simpler and faster for participants to answer and because the responses of various participants are less demanding in comparing. Closed-ended questionnaires answers are simpler to code and measurably examine. In closed ended questionnaires, sensitive topics are quickly answered by participants. The research will involve answering sensitive questions which best be captured by closed ended questionnaires.

Ethical Considerations

Ethical considerations are fundamental in research and particularly in qualitative research involving human participants. Ethical considerations will be adopted throughout the process of investigation to show integrity with the research community and research participants. Concerning research community, one of the ethical considerations for secondary data collection in this study will be to prevent plagiarism which is one of the more severe academic and research misconducts. Plagiarism will be avoided by using APA referencing style to give proper credit to the authors.

Concerning research participants, there are also various ethical considerations. Firstly, confidentiality and anonymity of participants will be maintained in this study by avoiding the use names of participants in reporting results and conclusions (Klassen et al., 2012). The study will not use any information that can lead to the identification of the respondents. Another significant ethical consideration will be gaining consent from participants. Proper consent forms will be obtained from all participants mentioning that the participant will be free to involve allowed to include in the study and allowed to stop participating anytime amid the research process, particularly data collection process, without any obligation.

Scope and Problems

This study will attempt to examine the attitude of Australian citizens towards the idea of same sex marriage by presenting explanations and justifications for all the methodological choices made in this study. However, it will be noted that this study will be based on answering fixed questions based on attitudes of the participants. Attitudes may change over time and therefore results derived from methods and techniques in this study may be different even if the same participants are to answer the same questionnaire again. Moreover, an assumption that attitudes of people towards same sex marriage in Australia will vary from time to time but the variance will not be expected to change to a larger degree in the short or medium term. The other limitation of the study will result from the fact that it will only involve university students who may be from other countries.


Baunach, D. M. (2012). Changing same-sex marriage attitudes in America from 1988 through 2010. Public Opinion Quarterly, 76(2), 364-378.

Ellison, C. G., Acevedo, G. A., & Ramos‐Wada, A. I. (2011). Religion and Attitudes Toward Same‐Sex Marriage Among US Latinos. Social Science Quarterly, 92(1), 35-56.

Gaines, N. S., & Garand, J. C. (2010). Morality, equality, or locality: Analyzing the determinants of support for same-sex marriage. Political Research Quarterly, 63(3), 553-567.

Gerstmann, E. (2017). Same-sex Marriage and the Constitution. Cambridge University Press.

Klassen, A. C., Creswell, J., Clark, V. L. P., Smith, K. C., & Meissner, H. I. (2012). Best practices in mixed methods for quality of life research. Quality of Life Research, 21(3), 377-380.

Patton, M. Q. (2002). Two decades of developments in qualitative inquiry: A personal, experiential perspective. Qualitative social work, 1(3), 261-283.

Shackley, M., Weiner, C., Day, A., & Willis, G. M. (2014). Assessment of public attitudes towards sex offenders in an Australian population. Psychology, crime & law, 20(6), 553-572.

Sherkat, D. E., De Vries, K. M., & Creek, S. (2010). Race, religion, and opposition to same‐sex marriage. Social Science Quarterly, 91(1), 80-98.

Whitehead, A. L. (2014). Politics, Religion, Attribution Theory, and Attitudes Toward Same‐Sex Unions. Social Science Quarterly, 95(3), 701-718.

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