The study was conducted by Queensland and Victoria universities, as well as Grainne Healy who was a co-director of the yes campaign. The complete study is here, entitled "Swimming with Sharks: The negative social and psychological impacts of Ireland's marriage equality referendum 'NO' campaign".
This another nail in the coffin of the Australian plebiscite.
The survey found that 75.5% of participants often or always felt angry when they were exposed to campaign messages from the no campaign before the referendum.
It found 80% felt upset by the no campaign materials, and two-thirds felt anxious or distressed.
Younger LGBTI people scored lower on psychological wellbeing compared with older people, including feeling anxious and afraid.
When asked if they would be prepared to face the referendum campaign again, 30.5% gave positive answers, 15% were undecided and 54.5% responded negatively. The largest group (36%) said they would be “not at all happy” to go through the campaign again.
The survey was funded in part by Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays Australia, which is opposed to a marriage equality plebiscite in Australia.
The survey also asked people about their positive experiences of the yes campaign and the successful result of the referendum, which legalised same-sex marriage, although those results will be published in a separate report.
One of the study’s authors, Victoria University’s Liz Short said: “This research provides very clear evidence that significant social and psychological detriment results from holding a nation-wide debate.”
UQ’s Sharon Dane, told Guardian Australia the vivid detail and emotion of respondents’ answers to qualitative questions suggested the impact of the no campaign was “more than a fleeting experience or something that could be simply undone through a win for marriage equality”.
With all of the results in, Ireland has voted a historic yes in its gay marriage referendum
In qualitative responses to questions, LGBTI parents spoke about the harmful effect of the campaign on their children. One said: “It affected my daughter hugely, she would come home from school crying.”
One young LGBTI participant responded: “I would get extremely irritated obviously as I hadn’t come out to my family at the time and there were often cruel remarks saying that gay people turn their stomach, especially from my father, grandmother and one sister.” The Guardian