Ipsos MORI updates polls to include the option of civil partnerships

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Following an exclusive report by PinkNews that Ipsos MORI did not include the option of ‘civil partnerships’ in some of its major polls, the company has confirmed it will add the option.

Shortly following the publication of a PinkNews article pointing out that a long-running poll still did not include civil partnerships as an option under the relationship status section, the company confirmed the poll would be changed.

Robert Hanwell, a director at Millivres Prowler Group (MPG), told PinkNews that he had been approached at his home in South London to complete a survey about radio stations, but that he was not able to respond to say that he was in a civil parternship, as only ‘married’, ‘single’, ‘divorced’ or ‘cohabiting’ were available options on the form.

Speaking to PinkNews.co.uk, Ipsos MORI Chief Executive Ben Page, admitted that the concern was genuine, and that he had spoken to the company that commissions the poll, which looks at which radio stations people listen to.

He said the commissioning company had agreed that the poll should be updated to reflect the fact that many same-sex couples enter into civil partnerships, and that it is not acceptable for them to be missed off the poll.

Tweeting, Mr Page also noted that all large and relevant surveys will have the option of civil partnerships added.

Mr Hanwell originally said he was shocked, and said he refused to complete the poll once he realised it did not include an option for him to indicate that he is in a civil partnership with his partner of 23 years.

Speaking to PinkNews, Mr Hanwell now says: “I am so delighted to hear that Ipsos Mori has caught up with the enlightened society it surveys and updated their survey data so that it now includes Civil Partnerships.

“Such data often forms an important record of the history of our wonderful society and since 2005 records of gay relationships are thankfully now recognised and included. I often feel a bit sad when watching programmes such as ‘Who do you think you are’ and how they pass over those ‘single’ relatives so quickly who may have had wonderful and interesting gay relationships that were just not recognised and recorded.”

Before the decision to change the poll question, Ipsos MORI was criticised from politicians from all three major political parties.

Barnoness Liz Barker, an openly-gay Lib Dem peer who came out during the equal marriage debate in the House of Lords last year, said: “Liberal Democrats were first to campaign for civil partnerships and same sex marriage because greater equality builds a stronger society. I am glad that Ipsos Mori, which has such a long record of measuring changing social attitudes, has now caught up with public opinion.

Lib Dem MP Stephen Gilbert has now told PinkNews: “It’s great news that Ipsos MORI has decided to include civil partnerships in their surveys – and praise must go to PinkNews for pursuing this issue with them and delivering this change.”