Echoing Popular Sentiment, Same-Sex Marriage Is Legalized in Austria and Australia
In early December, two similar-sounding countries on opposite sides of the world – Austria and Australia – became the latest to legalize same-sex marriage.
On December 4th, Austria’s Constitutional Court ruled that current restrictions allowing same-sex couples to enter civil partnerships but not marry are discriminatory. At the end of 2018, the words “two people of different sexes” will be removed from their law on marriage. Same-sex marriage is expected to become legal in 2019 – or sooner if the Austrian Parliament lifts the restrictions earlier than planned.
Four days later, Australia’s Parliament voted to move forward with legalization. This decision followed a historic referendum determining that 62% of the Australian populace favored legal recognition of the unions of gay and lesbian couples. The first legal same-sex weddings under this new law began in mid-December.
These historic decisions align with findings in research released by Viacom and Logo indicating a rise in global support for same-sex marriage.
The 2017 “ILGA-RIWI Global Attitudes Survey in partnership with Viacom, Logo, and SAGE,” which polled nearly 116,000 people in 77 countries, revealed 60% support for same-sex marriage in Australia – nearly matching the 62% result of the public referendum.
And while Austria was not included in the 2017 survey, it was featured in the 2016 version of the report, which was based on nearly 100,000 respondents in 65 countries. This study found that 51% of Austrians were in favor of same-sex marriage – considerably above the global average of 33%. Among countries surveyed in both years, support for same-sex marriage rose by 15%. So it’s reasonable to think that Austria has increased in this measure over the last year.
This research also indicated that being acquainted with LGBT people is the biggest catalyst for changing perceptions – and both countries exceeded global averages. Australians were 39% more likely to personally know an LGBT person and Austrians were 25% more likely. Laws and entertainment featuring LGBT people were also found to sway opinions more favorably in these countries. In Australia, the opinions of friends and family also exerted a strong influence upon people’s feelings toward the LGBT community.