"only 40% of respondents agreeing that Canada should recognize gay marriages"
GAY MARRIAGE - THE PROBLEM OF POLLS
What do approval ratings show, and how dependable are they? The recent Environics Research poll of 2,035 Canadians reported in the National Post found that 55% support allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry, while 41% are opposed. Only four months earlier, a MacLean's / Global Television Network poll of 1,400 Canadians found only 40% of respondents agreeing that Canada should recognize gay marriages, with 44% disagreeing. A complete reversal in four months? Not likely.
The Environics poll is inconsistent with a larger body of evidence. The Canadian Election Study released in December 2000 found that 48% of Westerners and 45% of Ontarians disapproved of allowing same sex couples to marry. A Gallup Canada poll released in March 2000 reflected the MacLean's poll, and found that 43% approved of same-sex marriage, while 48% were opposed.
The Environics summary also states that the 2001 poll is part of a five-year growth
trend in support of gay marriage, following 1999 data where the figures were split 34%
both for and against. However, those 1999 figures are in striking contrast with another
poll conducted by Angus Reid for Globe and Mail and CTV in the same year which found 53%
in favour of homosexual marriage and 44% opposed. Read alongside the MacLean's more recent
poll, one could argue that support for gay marriage has actually decreased.
Dr. Mark Genuis, head of the Calgary-based National Foundation for Family Research and Education, says the way to resolve the issue is to hold a national debate on the definition of marriage - adding he believes if such a debate were held, most Canadians would decide against same-sex marriage.
Divided opinion polls only point to issues that need to be discussed. They do not provide a basis for making radical changes to an institution of foundational importance.
An organisation representing physicians around the world will ask its members to reiterate their opposition to euthanasia when they meet in New Delhi in October. CNSNews.com reported this week that at a recent meeting in France, the council of the eight-million-member World Medical Association passed a draft resolution affirming the WMA's "strong belief that euthanasia is in conflict with basic ethical principles of medical practice." The resolution urges all member associations and doctors not to practice euthanasia, "even if national law allows it or decriminalizes it under certain conditions."
Of the 72 national bodies represented - including the Canadian Medical Association - only the Royal Dutch Medical Association voted against the resolution. Last month, the Netherlands Senate approved legislation that made their country the first in the world to endorse euthanasia. But London-based WMA spokesman Nigel Duncan says the resolution was not aimed specifically at their Dutch colleagues. "We think euthanasia is wrong, we think the Dutch medical association is wrong," he told CNSNews.com, "and the WMA is urging all doctors, whether they're Dutch or whatever, not to take part in this."
Dr. Karel Gunning, president of the World Federation of Doctors who Respect Human Life - and who is himself Dutch - welcomed the WMA's draft resolution as "extremely good." But he also warned that since the Senate vote, euthanasia advocates in other countries, including France, Germany, Belgium and Britain, have stepped up efforts to persuade their governments to follow the Dutch example.
A poll taken by the Church revealed that only 28% of the membership favored the admission of active homosexuals into the ministry.