Gay marriage is 'wrong priority'

A High Court judge has criticised the Government for focusing on gay marriage plans rather than the "crisis of family breakdown". Sir Paul Coleridge said too much time and energy had been put into the debate.

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Key figures on types of family households

A High Court judge has criticised the Government for focusing on gay marriage plans rather than the "crisis of family breakdown".

Here is a breakdown of the number of families by type:

  • Of the UK's 18.2 million families, 12.2 million are married couples.
  • Number of cohabiting couples has nearly doubled from 1.5 million in 1996 to 2.9 million in 2012.
  • 7.6 million people live alone.
  • Number of married people stayed constant at 21.2 million over a decade.
  • Number of single adults rose by more than 3 million to 15.7 million.
  • There were nearly 2 million lone parents with dependent children in the UK in 2012.
  • 45% of 15- year-olds have experienced parental separation.
  • Cohabiting couples are more than twice as likely as married couples to split by the time a child is 7.

Source: Marriage Foundation, Census

'Switch focus and investment' to marriage breakdowns

  • Sir Paul launched independent charity Marriage Foundation last year to support married couples, but said the charity did not take a stance on gay marriage
  • He says marriage breakdowns and their impact on society affects 99.9 per cent of the population, which is where more investment should be spent

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Gay marriage debate 'affects 0.1% of the population'

Speaking to The Times (£) High Court judge Sir Paul Coleridge said:

So much energy and time has been put into this debate for 0.1% of the population, when we have a crisis of family breakdown. While it is gratifying that marriage in any context is centre stage...but it (gay marriage) is a minority issue. We need a more focused position by the Government on the importance of marriage.

Government 'wrong' to focus on gay marriage

A High Court judge has criticised the Government for focusing on gay marriage plans rather than the "crisis of family breakdown". Sir Paul Coleridge said too much time and energy had been put into the debate.

Sir Paul Coleridge sits in the family division of the High Court Credit: Press Association
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