Gay weddings: One in five Britons would not attend a same-sex marriage if invited

The first gay weddings will take place in the UK this weekend but a poll has revealed some people have reservations about same-sex marriage

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The Independent Online

Legislation allowing same-sex couples to marry comes into force this weekend but one in five Britons would not attend a gay wedding, research has suggested.

A survey by BBC Radio 5 Live found men were twice as likely to choose not to attend a same-sex wedding as women.

The first gay weddings will take place across England and Wales on Saturday after the government’s legislation received the Royal Assent in July last year.

Some couples will tie the knot in ceremonies at the stroke of midnight tonight and Whitehall will be flying the rainbow flag above its offices this week to celebrate the enactment of the law.

The legislation has been backed by leaders of the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties, while the majority of the 1,007 British adults polled by ComRes (69 per cent) agreed that gay marriage should be allowed.

But nearly a third of the men polled (29 per cent) said they would turn down an invite to a gay wedding, in comparison to 16 per cent of women.

In total, 22 per cent of people said they would spurn an invitation to gay nuptials.

The gay and bisexual charity Stonewall argued that it is important to consider that four out of five people would still attend a gay wedding, and said the public attitude towards it is “ incredibly positive”.

Young people were the most likely to support same-sex unions, with an overwhelming majority (80 per cent) of 18 to 34-year-olds backing the legislation. This figure dropped to under half (44 per cent) among the over 65s polled. 

Women were more likely to support gay marriage than men, with 75 per cent in favour for it compared with 61 per cent of men in favour.

Yet over half of people asked (59 per cent) agreed a person should not be considered homophobic for opposing the legislation that permits gay marriage, and 42 per cent disagreed that gay marriages were the same as straight marriages.