The Conservative Party risks losing Christian votes if it goes ahead with legalizing gay marriage, as advocated by David Cameron at the Party’s recent conference in Manchester, a ComRes survey published on 4 November 2011 has revealed.
The poll was undertaken on behalf of Premier Christian Media Trust among the ComRes CPanel of UK churchgoing Christians aged 18 and over. 544 were interviewed online between 25 and 31 October 2011. Results are available (albeit with inadequate labelling of data tables for Question 2) at:
Asked how they viewed the Conservative proposal to legalize same-sex marriages, only 11% of Christians supported it, while 83% were opposed (three-quarters of them strongly).
Hostility was particularly concentrated among the over-65s (90%), compared with 26% support in the 18-34 cohort. Denominationally, Independents, Pentecostals and Roman Catholics were most critical.
Overwhelmingly, these churchgoers foresaw negative consequences in the event of the law being changed in respect of gay marriage:
- 85% were concerned that the value of marriage would be further undermined
- 78% that it would be harder to argue against ‘other novel types of relationship’ such as polygamy
- 88% that schools would be required to teach the equal validity of same-sex and heterosexual relationships
- 93% that clergy would have to conduct gay marriages against their consciences
Absolutely nobody claimed that Cameron’s commitment to legalizing same-sex marriages would make them more likely to vote Conservative. 37% said that it would make no difference to their political behaviour.
But 57% were clear that they would be less disposed to back the Tories in future, this being especially true of Pentecostals (69%) and Roman Catholics (75%).
This CPanel study does not appear to have covered a related and similarly topical issue, the Government’s plan to permit civil partnerships in England and Wales to be celebrated in religious buildings. General public opinion on this matter was summarized in our previous BRIN post at: