Friday September 17, 2010

Poll: 67 Percent Irish Support Gay ‘Marriage’

By Hilary White

DUBLIN, September 17, 2010 ( – A poll taken by the left-leaning Irish Times newspaper that showed growing public support for the homosexualist cause in Ireland has prompted a group of campaigners to renew calls for legislation legitimizing same-sex unions.

Irish Times/Behaviour Attitudes’ social poll found that 67 percent of those questioned believe “gay marriage” legislation should be instituted, while 46 percent support homosexuals being allowed to adopt children, with 38 percent opposed.

Moninne Griffith, director of the pro-homosexualist group Marriage Equality, said the findings show the Irish public are “keenly aware that the current exclusion of lesbian and gay couples from civil marriage is deeply unfair and doesn’t make any sense in today’s Ireland.”

Times reporter Carl O’Brien said the poll is a sign of a new “liberal consensus” in Ireland. It found that 57 percent believe pre-marital cohabitation results in more stable marriages and 79 percent do not think that sex before marriage is immoral.

Tellingly, the polling numbers, when broken down by religion, showed that 79 percent of Catholics did not think there was anything immoral about sex outside marriage. Recent census data found that 87.4 percent of Irish identify themselves as Roman Catholic. But the poll found that only 13 percent defined themselves as “strongly” religious. Forty-five percent said they were “moderately” religious and 29 percent said they are “loosely” religious.

Anthony Murphy, editor of Catholic Voice magazine, told that in his view if there is such a consensus growing against traditional marriage in Ireland, much of the blame can be laid at the feet of the Catholic bishops.

The connection between the loss of belief in marriage and the failure of the Irish Catholic bishops, he said, is the key to understanding the change. The poll “highlights the failings of the bishops’ conference to promote Church teaching in a direct and robust way.”

Murphy also said that he questioned the accuracy of the poll, noting that the Irish Times is well known for its open support of the “pro-gay agenda.”

“It’s almost like asking Guinness to run a poll on whether Guinness is a good drink,” he said.

The poll also showed a vast gulf between older and younger Irish, with just 4 percent of young people seeing themselves as strongly religious. Of the people attending weekly religious services, very few are among the under-65 set. Sixty percent of people aged 65 or more attended weekly, with just 12 percent among those aged 25 to 34 and 18 percent among 18 to 24-year-olds.

The numbers showing the widespread belief that cohabitation is good for marriage was also indicative, Murphy said. He cited the four-fold increase in cohabitation in the 20 years between 1986 and 2006, during which time the number of marriage breakdowns rose from 40,000 to 200,000. Murphy said that the poll also failed to point to any connection between marriage breakdown and the increased use of drugs, alcohol and pornography among young people.

Referring to the speeches made by Pope Benedict XVI in Britain this week, Murphy said, “If the Church becomes more confident in promoting authentic Catholic teaching, explaining it in a truthful and charitable way, we might see the outcomes of such polls change.”

The Irish population, he said, “is bombarded with the gay agenda under the auspices of equality and human rights, and all the media are pro this agenda. At the same time, the bishops have failed to challenge the agenda.” The result has been “confusion among the faithful.”

Read related LSN coverage:

Italy’s Last Catholic Generation? Mass Attendance in “Collapse” among Under-30s

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