A large amount of British people are indifferent or even oblivious to the gay marriage issue, according to a poll published on Wednesday (22 August).
Influential Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft created the poll to dismiss claims Prime Minister David Cameron’s decision to push ahead with marriage equality would cost him votes at the next election.
According to the polling data, around 31% of respondents were opposed to gay marriage but within that third of the population only 12% said it would affect their vote.
Overall 41% of people were in favor of gay marriage and 27% said they had no opinion one way or the other.
Three quarters of all respondents said the marriage equality issue would not make any difference to how they voted.
Writing on Conservative Home.com, Lord Ashcroft said: ‘Most people had not heard the issue was on the agenda. When it was raised, they tended to be very relaxed about the idea.
‘By far the most common reaction was that if gay people wanted to get married, by all means let them get on with it; if the church did not want to take part, it should not (and need not) be compelled to.’
He adds: ‘Many also felt that such a change was part of the development of a more equal and accepting society.
‘Some admitted to being uncomfortable with the idea, but they did not suggest that marriage in general, or their own marriage in particular, would be undermined or devalued by the proposed change.’
The UK government is currently considering responses to a consultation carried out earlier this year on gay marriage, with plans to fully legalize it in England and Wales by 2015.
In Scotland, same-sex marriages are planned to take place as early as next year depending on the speed of the legislation. As Scotland will not have to face a vocal minority in the House of Lords like England and Wales, it is likely Scotland will be the first place in the UK to legalize marriage equality.