UK same-sex marriages top 15,500

Study shows more men enter unions than women

Anthony Cuesta | December 05, 2006

LONDON — More than 15,500 same-sex couples formally cemented their relationship in law since new legislation was introduced in Britain a year ago, according to provisional government data released on Monday.

The Office for National Statistics said 15,672 gays and lesbians formed civil partnerships between December 2005 and the end of September this year.

Of these, 14 084 were in England, 537 in Wales, 942 in Scotland and 109 in Northern Ireland.

According to the BBC, almost 2,000 partnerships took place last December when the Civil Partnership Act 2004 came into force.

The act gives same-sex couples rights in areas such as employment and pensions, but the partnerships are not officially regarded as marriages.

On average, 1,621 partnerships took place each month between January and March and this fell to 1,498 between July and September, the ONS report said.

The ONS report also reflects that the ratio between men and women entering into civil unions appeared to be changing.

"The gap between the proportion of male and female partnerships in England and Scotland appears to be reducing over time," the ONS said in a media statement.

The BBC reports that in London, there were around three times as many male partnerships as female partnerships.

A year ago, only 12 percent of all civil partners were under age 35 but this figure had more than doubled by September this year, reports the UK�s Metro. The number of partners aged 50 and above fell over the year by half, to 24 percent.

A spokesman for the ONS told Metro: 'It was assumed there would be in the region of between 11,000 and 22,000 civil partnerships by the year 2010 so we are already past the midway point of that estimation in just nine months of the Act coming into force.'

Notable figures who have cemented their relationship include British pop star Elton John and his long-term partner, the Canadian film maker David Furnish.

Last week, South Africa became the latest nation, and the first on the African continent, to legally recognize unions between same-sex couples. – Issued by Gay Link Content

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