Married couples no longer seen as social standard

Married couples no longer seen as the social 'norm'

Marriage between heterosexual couples is no longer considered the ‘normal’ social set-up, according to the biggest survey of social attitudes in Britain.

A combination of support for gay couples and single parents from the government, an increased number of couples cohabiting and a failure to support traditional marriage are all stated as reasons why previously unconventional lifestyles are now more widely recognized.

The British Social Attitudes report by the National Centre for Social Research polled 3,300 adults and revealed that the traditional marriage is now seen by two thirds of people as almost identical to cohabitation.

Just one in four people believe married couples make better parents than unmarried ones, whilst a third of people think gay male couples are just as capable of making good parents as a heterosexual couple.

A large majority, 61%, also believe that single women should be granted sperm donation in order to have a baby.

The general consensus, however, appears to be that the importance placed on marriage has dwindled significantly and most of the population see a wedding as an excuse for a good old knees-up.

Simon Duncan, the professor of social policy at Bradford University who co-wrote the report said: ‘The heterosexual married couple is no longer central as a social norm, but views are more traditional when it comes to bringing up children. Alternative family arrangements are seen as less acceptable.’

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