Liberal Democrat MP Stephen Williams has said he is disappointed that the government has decided not to include a question on sexual orientation in the next census, in 2011.
Last year the Office of National Statistics announced they did not think a question about sexual orientation would not be suitable. But Stephen Williams MP has tabled an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons asking the government to ensure that a question is asked in 2011 about sexual orientation.
"A question on sexual orientation would help to monitor equality legislation and improve service provision to lesbian, gay and bisexual people," his motion argues.
He welcomed the decision to ask a census question about civil partnerships, but said that is important to know how many gay, lesbian and bisexual people there are in the UK.
"There will always be some dispute as to the proportion of people that are gay, lesbian or bisexual - is it 5%? 8%? 10%? It is important that the make-up of society is understood."
DELGA Chair Jen Yockney commented, "In preparing the civil partnerships legislation the government guessed 6% to be lesbian or gay - there is not even a government guess as to how many people are bisexual in the UK. The census will not provide a definitive answer - many people will not feel they are able to answer honestly, and of course the labels mean different things to different people - but it would at least give us a base figure which could help in pressing for equality in areas like service provision."
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