Published: 3 September 2014
The Office of National Statistics have published the first same-sex marriage figures, which reveals that 1,409 same-sex marriages took place in the first month since the introduction of the new Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act on Saturday 29th March.
The 1,409 same-sex marriages took place between Saturday 29th March and Monday 30th June 2014, with 796 of the same-sex marriages between female couples (56%) and 613 between male couples (44%). There were 95 marriages alone over the first three day period after same-sex marriage became legal from 29th March to 31st March 2014, with many couples booking their marriages well in advance to celebrate the new equality in marriage law.
In April 2014 there were 351 marriages, in May there were 465 and in June there were 498.
In regards to age statistics, the average age of women marrying their same-sex partner was 37, with the average age of men at 38 years. The figures highlighted that there were more women marrying their same-sex partner at a younger age, with 63% of the marriages in the 25 - 29 age bracket being between females. A similar statistic applies to the 30 - 34 age bracket, with 60% of those marriages taking place were between females.
The only age bracket that saw more males getting married to their same-sex partners was between the ages of 55 and 65.
The statistics also highlighted that the majority of same-sex couples getting married, (79% of females and 91% of males) had not been in a civil partnership or been married before. Of the two sexes, only 9% of men had been in a previous civil partnership or marriage that had ended, compared to 20% of women.
The number of same-sex marriages since the change in legislation is actually lower than the number of couples entering into Civil Partnerships when they were first introduced, which is possibly due to the fact that when Civil Partnerships were first introduced, there were no other options available to same-sex couples.
The government have announced that same-sex couples who are currently in a Civil Partnership can convert them to same-sex marriages on 10th December 2014. This has caused much dissatisfaction in the gay and lesbian community, with some couples being told that they would first have to dissolve their Civil Partnership before they can enter into a same-sex marriage, if they wanted to get married before the end of the year.
A couple from Devon recently organised a petition, which resulted in 40,000 signatures, to present to the Minister for Equalities requesting a change to the current legislation involving the conversion of Civil Partnerships to same-sex marriages.
The draft of the Marriage of Same Sex Couples (Conversion of Civil Partnerships) Regulations 2014 states that the conversion doesn't allow for a formal ceremony and the declaration must be signed in front of a superintendent registrar - which can only take place during business hours from Monday to Friday.
The Minister for Equalities, Nick Boles, moved to reassure the couple that they will be granted with a marriage certificate, rather than a certificate of conversion and has said, "We have listened to a range of views on the conversion process and are looking again at the draft regulations".
K J Smith Solicitors have many years of experience in dealing with the dissolution of Civil Partnerships and all other issues relating to family law. For more information or to arrange a free consultation, contact us on 01491 630000 (Henley on Thames), 020 7070 0330 (London), 0118 418 1000 (Reading), 01753 325000 (Windsor) or 01256 584000 (Basingstoke).