Slow uptake for same sex marriage

Marriage|August 21st 2014

Just 95 same sex marriages took place across England and Wales in the first three days after the legislation came into force, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has reported.

The first gay marriages took place on 29 March this year.

By contrast there were as many 1,227 civil partnerships in the first three days after the introduction of civil partnerships in December 2005.

In a new report, the ONS suggests:

“The early uptake of marriages of same sex couples is lower than the uptake of civil partnerships, possibly because before the introduction of civil partnerships there was no other option for same sex couples to formalise their relationships.”

A significant proportion of couples entering the first wave of civil partnerships would have been long-standing couples, it believes.

Since March, the number of same sex marriages taking place each month has steadily increased – from 351 in April to 465 in May, and from there to 498 in June, the most recent month for which figures are available.

A slight majority (51 per cent) of the couples entering same sex marriage are female, the ONS reveals.

The average age of men entering same sex marriage, meanwhile, was 38.6, compared to an average age of 37 for women doing the same.

The age group most likely to enter a same sex marriage were those aged 30-34, the figures reveal, followed closely by 25-29 year olds.

Women made up a significant majority of the those entering same sex marriages below the age of 34.

In addition, most of those marrying had never previously been married or in civil partnership – this was the case for 91 per cent of men and 79 per cent of women entering same sex unions.

Read the ONS report here.

People currently in civil partnerships will be able to convert their relationships into marriage by the end of this year.

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