Keeping it in the room: health, happiness and living in Berlin
The Office for National Statistics has revealed that there were over 1,400 same -sex marriages in the first three months they became legal – but, unsurprisingly, the early uptake of same-sex marriage is lower than for the first three months of civil partnerships.
For the first three months of same-sex marriage, a little more than half (796 marriages, or 55 per cent of the total) were female couples, with an average age of 37, while there were 613 male-male marriages, who averaged 38½. There were more women than men marrying at younger ages, particularly at ages 25 to 29 and 30 to 34 where 63% and 60% of those marrying were female. From age 55, slightly more men than women married, with the exception of age 65 and over, where equal numbers of men and women married. The greatest number of men and women marrying were aged 30 to 34 with 220 and 330 marriages respectively.
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. Over the first quarter following the introduction of civil partnerships, 66 per cent of partnerships were between males. In contrast, 44 per cent of marriages to same-sex couples between 29 March and 30 June 2014 were between males.
Peter Tatchell, who was instrumental in pushing for the law to change to allow same-sex marriage, commented: ‘The trend so far is for an increasing number of same-sex couples to marry. Instead of a sudden rush of weddings when the law changed, we see a more sustained and growing number of same-sex marriages. It is notable that except in the over-55 age group, marriages between women outstrip marriages between men.
‘These statistics confirm that the demand for same-sex marriage is real and on-going. It’s not novelty or flash-in-the-pan. Same-sex marriage is here to stay. The numbers are perhaps a bit lower than expected because many people who want to marry are already in civil partnerships and they cannot legally convert them to marriages until December.’
Richard Lane, media manager for LGBT rights organisation Stonewall, added: ‘It’s fantastic to see so many couples tying the knot and celebrating their love with friends and family. Equal marriage sends an incredibly powerful signal that same-sex relationships are every bit as loving, committed and valued as those between opposite-sex couples.
‘That’s an incredibly important message for people growing up gay in Britain.’
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