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Opposition to same-sex marriage has increased in New Zealand, poll shows

Poll from The New Zealand Herald shows that 48% of respondents oppose gay marriage, up from 40.5% last June
Head of anti-gay-marriage group Family First NZ, Bob McCroskie

A new poll from the New Zealand Herald has shown that opposition to same-sex marriage has risen in the country.

The Herald DigiPoll survey showed that 48% of respondents believed marriage should remain between a man and a woman, 7.5% more than a poll last June.

Support for same-sex marriage was still higher than opposition however, but this had fallen by 4%.

Previous polls had shown far stronger support for marriage equality but the methodology behind the surveys has differed and it is not clear if the Herald DigiPoll is acurate.

The poll was taken during the week of the second reading of a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in New Zealand, which was passed by MPs 77 to 44, when there was intense lobbying on both sides.

Labour MP Louisa Wall, the sponsor of the Bill, told the New Zealand Herald that the majority of citizens still support same-sex marriage 'despite the opposition spending what seems vast amounts of money on an active and negative campaign built on fear and misinformation'.

Founder of anti-gay-marriage group Family First Bob McCoskrie said that it was 'absolute baloney' that his group had influenced the polls with scaremongering.

'We get past the slogans of equality and discrimination and start asking the bigger questions such as "do we need to change the long-held definition of marriage or can we provide legal rights through the Civil Union Act?",' said McCoskrie.

Christian group New Zealanders for Marriage is planning to hold a vigil outside the parliament in Wellington tomorrow night to show their opposition to same-sex marriage.

'Changing the legal definition and therefore the meaning of the word marriage doesn't change what it has always been - a unique covenant between a man and a woman,' said a statement from the group.

The bill proposing to legalize same-sex marriage will be debated in parliament this evening with discussions revolving around suggested amendments - including extending the protection of religious freedoms and, more controversially, preventing the change in law from affecting adoptions.

The third reading will follow the debate in the next few weeks. As MPs voted in overwhelming support at the first two readings, the bill is likely to be passed and gay Kiwis could be planning August weddings. 

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