Marriage rates have fallen to their lowest ever, prompting calls for the media, Government and schools to support the institution.
Official figures for England and Wales show 239,020 weddings between opposite sex couples took place in 2015 – and that the marriage rate was at its lowest since 1862.
The Christian Institute, the Coalition for Marriage and the Marriage Foundation expressed sadness at the figures, highlighting marriage’s unique status compared to other relationships.
Colin Hart, Director of The Christian Institute, said: “Marriage provides the strong foundation that families need to raise children, but is suffering from being maligned over many years.
“Instead of undermining marriage, we need politicians, the media and our schools to promote it as best for couples and best for children.”
Thomas Pascoe, who leads the Coalition For Marriage group, said the Government must stop “pandering to a minority who say all relationships are equal” and instead lend its support in the education and tax systems.
Marriage provides the strong foundation that families need to raise children.
And Harry Benson of the Marriage Foundation said: “Future generations will not thank us for our foolish disregard for commitment and stability.”
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the number of marriages between a man and a woman in 2015 dropped by 3.4 per cent from the previous year.
Records on marriage rates began in the 1860s, but the 2015 figures of 21.7 marriages per thousand unmarried men and 19.8 marriages per thousand unmarried women is the lowest.
The statistics also show an eight per cent drop in religious ceremonies between 2014 and 2015.
The ONS’s Nicola Haines noted that opposite-sex marriage rates have generally declined since the 1970s.
She also said: “This is the first full year for which marriages were available for same-sex couples and they accounted for 2.6% of all marriages.”