Over one in five (21%) people in the UK would refuse an invitation to a same sex wedding or are unsure if they would attend. A further 11% would attend but admitted that they would feel uneasy during parts of the day, according to new research published today by Emerald Life, an insurance provider set up to challenge injustice and inequality in the insurance sector.
The research, which comes three years after same-sex marriage was legalised, also showed only half (50%) of people over 65 think they would be able to attend a same sex wedding without feeling discomfort. Overall, 26% of men were doubtful if they would accept an invite or certain that they wouldn’t attend versus 16% of women.
The research, based on an Opinium survey of 2003 adults1, is a hammer blow to Britain’s image as a liberal nation with a positive attitude to LBGT relationships and same sex marriage, according to Emerald Life.
Heidi McCormack, CEO of Emerald Life commented: “Our research shows that while marriage equality legislation has had a positive impact within the LGBT community, it has done little to challenge the views of a significant number of Brits. The fact that only half of the over 65s would attend a same sex wedding is frankly depressing. These are the parents of fiancés and excited soon- to-be newlyweds up and down the country. Thankfully younger generations are much more progressive which shows the fight for equality is paying off. But it will take time.”
However, within the LGBT community the legislation has had a positive effect, with 69% stating they think members of their community feel more comfortable about disclosing their sexuality after marriage equality was introduced2.
A spokesperson for the British Humanist Association commented: “The last few years have seen a strong shift in societal attitudes towards same-sex marriages, however this research shows that there's still further to go. We will keep working in partnership with the Government and others to ensure that every person is accepting of LGBT individuals and feels comfortable at same-sex wedding ceremonies.”
At the time the marriage equality legislation was passed, a survey by the BBC3 identified that 1 in 54 would turn down an invite to a same sex wedding. Today’s results from Emerald Life show that very limited progress has been made among a significant proportion of the population.
Emerald Life’s research also explored where Britons thought the next big focus should be in terms of LGBT equal rights with more than a quarter (26%) of UK adults suggesting anti-bullying campaigns and diversity training in schools was key.
The latest data published by the ONS shows there were 4850 same sex weddings in 2014.5
1 Research amongst 2003 UK adults carried out by Opinium Research from 17th-21st March 2017
2 Research amongst 2004 UK adults carried out by Opinium Research from 21st to 23rd March 2017
4 ComRes from 14th-17th March 2014 with a sample of 1007 UK adults 5https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/marriagecohabitationandcivilpartnerships/bulletins/marriag esinenglandandwalesprovisional/2014