September 23, 2011

Majority opposed to gay marriage

by Jan Harris

Following last week’s revelation that the government plans to make the marriage of same-sex couples legal by 2015, new figures from the Office for National Statistics show that more than half of Britons believe this should not be allowed.

The figures also show that two thirds of Britons are opposed to the adoption of children by same-sex couples, even though this was legalised by the 2002 Adoption Act.

The ONS based its figures on a variety of sources including the annual British Social Attitudes survey and research by the European Commission.

Civil partnerships between same-sex couples have been legal since 2005, when they were introduced to legally recognise same-sex relationships and ensure equality with married couples.

Speaking at the Liberal Democrat Conference 2011 in Birmingham Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone said: “We are a world leader for gay rights, but as this conference made clear last year with your call for equal marriage, there is still more that we must do.

“That is why I am delighted to announce today that in March, this Government will begin a formal consultation on how to implement equal civil marriage for same sex couples.

“And this would allow us to make any legislative changes necessary by the end of this Parliament.”

The change in legislation is backed by David Cameron who is believed to have pushed for progress to be speeded up.

The news was welcomed by Ben Summerskill, the chief executive of gay rights group Stonewall, who said: ‘This change will make a difference to a number of gay people who are concerned at the differing status of civil partnerships and marriage”.

However, Christian groups spoke out against the move amid concerns that it will redefine the concept of marriage and could put people who are unable to accept the validity of same-sex marriages in a very difficult position.

The latest figures from the ONS suggest that the introduction of same-sex marriages will be unpopular not only with Christian groups, but with the majority of the UK’s population.

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