The number of marriages is plummeting in the UK, where newly released government figures have revealed the fewest weddings since the middle of the 19th century. Fewer than 23 men in every 1000 said "I do" in 2006 as more couples opt for cohabitation without a marriage license. The news triggered political finger-pointing.
"This is a sad indictment of policies which have penalized families and fueled family breakdown," said a leading Conservative. A Labor government spokesman countered: "The family unit is changing, but this doesn't mean it is breaking down."