Friday, September 08, 2017

The same-sex marriage postal vote. The yes should win, but........

A friend gave me this gem. I really laughed.

I didn't know whether to be pleased or sad about the High Court's decision allowing the gay marriage postal vote. Pleased in that it should allow the matter to be resolved by the end of the year, sad because I thought the decision strengthened the power of the Executive in a way I did not like. However, we won't know the scope and implications of the decision until the High Court releases its reasons.

I have previously indicated my support for same-sex marriage. Subject to two important qualifications, I expect the postal vote to be carried.

The first qualification is that (and this may be very unfair) I don't really trust the discretion or judgement of some of the yes activists. The attacks on Dr Lai are a case in point. This type of behaviour risks alienating those who might otherwise vote yes.

The second qualification is, to a degree, linked to the first. Quite a few people who are on the No side will not discuss it in public or, perhaps, even admit it in polls for fear of getting their heads bitten off or suffering from a job perspective. The second is a very real fear in organisations where the official position or attitudes of senior management or fellow staff is is strongly pro yes. Just because people self-censor doesn't mean their views have changed.

We also don't know to what degree the samples normally used in the polls are representative when attitudes are very skewed. Based primarily on anecdotal evidence, I would expect higher no votes in various migrant, religious or ethnic groups.

To the degree that I do become involved in discussions with no voters, I plan to spend my time largely listening rather than arguing.

Postscript 13 September 2017

This ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation Vote Compass story provides an interesting picture of the pattern of support and opposition to same sex marriage across the country. Because of the number of respondents, it overcomes (to some degree at least) the question of sample bias that I mentioned above.

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