Back in 2013, England and Wales ushered in brand new legislation that finally made same-sex marriage legal across the two countries. By March, 2014 the first same-sex marriages were taking place and same-sex couples who had previously gotten civil partnerships were able to upgrade to ‘married’ status, being able to call each other husband or wife and have it validated, legally.
In January, Prime Minister David Cameron even called marriage equality one of the biggest achievements of his time in office and he mentioned that he’d received many wedding invitations and thank you letters from same-sex couples. But has marriage equality really helped people be treated better? Or is it just a plaster on a more concerning problem?
UK LGBT charity Stonewall recently warned LGBT voters on ‘complacency’ in parliament, saying that more things need to be done until LGBT people stop being discriminated against. And in a new survey from gay-friendly accommodation website Further Afield supports that argument, with many gay and lesbian travellers across the UK still being cautious about travelling in England and Wales, despite the monumental marriage decision.
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In the snap survey conducted by the site, over 90% of its gay and lesbian respondents said that they would not feel comfortable kissing or even cuddling in England and Wales. Further Afield says that much still needs to be done to change social attitudes and make LGBT people feel welcome in England and Wales.
Further Afield also says that the actions need to go beyond basic training. Training can help staff at hotels and B&Bs avoid incorrect language and offensive questions but an inclusive environment is also down to “the ethos of the people who own, run and manage the hotel” and that instead of “box-ticking with an eye on the pink pound” these owners need to be “genuinely mindful of their guests’ possible concerns on arrival”.
This is an important concern for the government as although they made a great decision in legalising same-sex marriage, this will have been for nothing if people don’t actually feel comfortable celebrating and honeymooning in England and Wales. Not only do the countries not want to be seen as not welcoming but the economic ramifications of same-sex couples avoiding them when it comes to choosing a honeymoon destination could also be quite serious.