According to a new YouGov poll, public opinion is divided about the Coalition Government’s plans, announced by the Equalities Office on 17 February, to permit civil partnerships in England and Wales to be celebrated in religious buildings, even though ‘no religious group will be forced to host a civil partnership registration’.
Government’s goal would be achieved through implementation of Section 202 of the Equality Act 2010, which revokes the explicit ban on holding civil partnership registrations in religious premises that stems from the Approved Premises (Marriage and Civil Partnership) Regulations 2005. The Section is not yet in force.
The YouGov survey was undertaken online for The Sunday Times on 17 and 18 February 2011, among a representative sample of 2,464 adult Britons aged 18 and over. The results of the study will be found on page 10 of the tables at:
Asked whether it should be legal for same-sex couples to hold their civil partnership ceremonies in places of worship, 42% agreed (similar to the 41% approving of same-sex marriage, in a different question), 43% disagreed, and 16% expressed no opinion.
Support for the Government’s proposal was notably strong among Liberal Democrat voters (50%) and those aged 25-39 (53%), presumably the age group most likely to be directly affected.
Opposition peaked at 60% among the over-60s and at 54% among Conservative voters, despite the Conservative Party being the major partner in the Coalition Government which is putting forward the idea.
Men were also 10 points more hostile to the plan than women, and manual workers less in favour than non-manuals. Regional differences were not marked. In Scotland, which is not affected (since this is a devolved matter), the split was 42% versus 41%.