The Office of National Statistics (ONS) has produced a report on the way in which official statistics will be published in the future for marriage , divorce and civil partnerships. The recent introduction of same sex marriages will have an impact on the number of marriages and divorces.
2000 people responded to an open consultation. These responses were from members of the clergy, academics, researchers, life coaches, and private individuals interested in marriage. Religious and faith groups also provided responses as well as other organisations.
It appears that most people who responded to the survey felt that civil partnerships were different from marriage and the stats should be kept separate. They also wanted the stats for marriages between heterosexual couples and same sex couples made separate. The respondents to the survey were also interested in how many civil partnerships were converted into marriages.
The vast majority of respondents wanted the ONS to provide marriage and divorce statistics by providing separate tablesfor same sex and opposite sex couples. It looks likely that this will happen in the future.
So whilst these figures will be of interest to certain groups, would most people on the street be interested in these figures? It’s likely that most people will not be bothered. It seemed that the general consensus of the public was that same sex couples should be allowed to marry, and they will see the divorce rates merely as a consequence of that.
I believe that the groups which will mostly be interested are those who are critical of same sex marriage. They will want to compare the divorce statistics with those of opposite sex couples. The Coalition for Marriage in their “Guide to Responding” paper says that “research has demonstrated that marriage between a man and a woman is more stable than other types of heterosexual relationships and produces better outcomes for children. If data is not presented separately future comparisons between opposite sex marriage, cohabitation and same sex marriages will prove impossible. But knowing how these different type of relationships will affect outcomes for adults and children is crucial to drawing up public policy.”
It will be interesting to see what how marriage and divorce change in the future.
If you want expert advice on divorce, separation or civil partnership please contact me Shakeel Mir on 020 8899 6620 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.