The age divide on same sex marriage

Michael Dickison at NZ Herald reports:

Pensioners are holding out in a dwindling minority opposing gay marriage – as 2013 looks possibly to be the year for it to become reality.

A Herald-DigiPoll survey into same-sex marriages found a stark generational divide: 60 per cent of respondents older than 65 said marriage should remain only between a man and a woman. But 70 per cent of people under 40 said the law should be changed to allow same-sex marriages.

Labour MP Louisa Wall, who is behind the bill to legalise gay marriage, said studies out of universities had found even stronger support among young people, above 80 per cent.

And If you are under 40, you were aged 14 or younger when homosexual law reform occurred in 1986. In 25 years times (or less), will be as uncontroversial as homosexual law reform itself now is.

“For older people, homosexuality was foreign; it meant things like mental illnesses. It was illegal. People could go to jail – so, of course, they can’t relate to it.

“Older New Zealanders wouldn’t have seen two same-sex people who love each other.”

I think this is very true for many. Most people under 40 know several same sex couples and don’t distinguish between those relationships, and their own ones.

Gay marriage would become an increasingly contested fight through 2013 and the Government should not be rushing through the process to avoid it becoming an election issue in 2014, he said.

There is no rushing of process. In fact it is impossible for the Government to rush the process. It is a private members’ bill, and the select committee hearing submissions is chaired by an Opposition MP.

The committee will report to Parliament on February 28, with a second reading scheduled for March 20. A third and final reading could happen in May.

This is the standard timings under Standing Orders. The first reading was 29 August 2012, and the select committee has six months to report back.

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