Australian Muslims seem to have decisively voted against same sex marriage in a referendum last week which the wider population backed with 61.60% voting Yes and 38.40% voting No.
The Yes vote won a majority in every state and in 133 of the 150 federal electorates – with voters in just 17 seats favouring a No vote. But 12 of the seats that voted No were in western Sydney, along with three Queensland electorates and two Victorian regions, where there is a big Muslim and migrant population.
Prior to the vote the Australian National Imams Council affirmed that Islam sanctifies marriage as only being between a man and a woman.
In a statement they said: “The Quranic revelations and Prophetic teachings with regard to the institution of marriage make this clear. Islam places the family unit at the heart of a healthy society, and in this context, the right of children to be cared for and raised by both a mother and father is one that must be protected. Islam also explicitly and unambiguously states that the marital relationship is only permissible between a man and woman; any other marital relationships are Islamically impermissible.”
Following the vote, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull cited the migrant population in western Sydney as the reason for the No result there.
He said: “The numbers speak for themselves, and you can see the biggest No votes were in electorates with a large migrant population, and in particular with a large Muslim population, like several of the seats in western Sydney and in Melbourne.”
He added: “In some of those seats you’ve got a very big Muslim community who are very, who are very conservative on issues like this and very little support for same-sex marriage.”
However, the most vocal opposition to same sex marriage did not come from Muslims; it came from the Australian Christian Lobby and its affiliated groups, including the Coalition for Marriage.
The Muslim population of Australia now stands at 604,000 people, and Islam is the country’s most popular non-Christian religion.