Stats from Britain: Gays Marrying More, Straights Less

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Wednesday August 14, 2019

New numbers from Britains Office for National Statistics show that while there are as many families in the UK as ever, they are looking different than they used to — and the trend of straights not marrying is increasing, even as gays are getting married at greater rates.

Indeed, reports UK newspaper The Guardian, in the last four years the number of same-sex couples getting married has quadrupled, even as mixed-gender couples increasingly hold off on tying the knot legally, or forgo marriage altogether.

Moreover, reports the BBC, same-sex couples are increasingly comfortable in declaring themselves to be such — and living together openly in a family situation.

The BBC quoted Joe Nellist, of the LGBT Foundation, as taking note of that latter trend and attributing it to recent changes in the laws of nations belonging to the UK. Now that same-sex couples have access to full marriage equality, Nellist said, gives "more LGBT people the confidence to live their lives openly."

Added Nellist: "It is important to remember that if we're not counted, we don't count."

It's an important contrast to the situation faced by gay and lesbian families on the American side of the pond, where recent gains — including marriage equality — are seen as endangered in the wake of the 2016 elections. One current Supreme Court jurist, Clarence Thomas, went so far recently as to imply that the court should not hesitate to reverse itself on past rulings that he called "demonstrably erroneous" — a stance and choice of phrasing that some saw as a thinly-veiled invitation for challenges to the court's 2015 finding that gay and lesbian couples have a right to marry.

Meantime, the Trump administration had barely come to power when it moved to ensure that LGBTQ people and their families are not counted in next year's census.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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