Same-sex marriage uptake not quite the boom that was expected

8th March 2015 by


On 29 March 2014 same-sex couples were given the right to marry under English and Welsh family law. Previously, the only option for the formalising of a same-sex union had been to undertake a civil partnership (The Civil Partnership Act 2004 came into force on 5 December 2005).

Many interested parties expected the uptake of same-sex marriage to be sizeable and there was considerable publicity surrounding the first so-called “gay weddings”, but when figures were released by the ONS (Office for National Statistics) in August that year, the initial number of ceremonies was lower than expected.

Healys’ family lawyers in London and Brighton have many years’ experience in handling the legal affairs of same-sex couples. To find out more about our services in this field, please click here.

Early facts and figures on same-sex marriage

ONS statistics confirmed the following:

  • 1,409 same-sex marriages took place in the first three months of the new law being enacted: 95 in the first three days, followed by 351 ceremonies in April, 465 in May, and 498 in June
  • 56% of the couples were female
  • 44% of the couples were male
  • Average age of women marrying women was 37
  • Average age of men marrying men was 38.6

Figures compiled by the BBC revealed that during the first three months, Westminster hosted 33 same-sex weddings, 12 occurred in Liverpool, 12 in Leicester, and nine in Cardiff.

From 10 December 2014, approximately 120,000 civil partnered couples will be eligible to convert their union to a marriage.

Uptake not as great as expected

Many interested parties predicted that the uptake of same-sex weddings would be high, but Mark Rimmer, chairman of the Local Registration Services Association – which represents local authority registrars – described the number of ceremonies as “small beer”.

He added, “It was not going to be a big thing – it was a good sound bite but safe to say it won’t be a whirlwind for local authorities.”

However, many interested parties, including family law solicitors, believe that figures relating to conversion of civil partnerships will be very interesting and will offer a truer reflection of the opinions of same-sex couples on the preference for marriage or civil-partnership.

Do you need to talk to a family lawyer about same-sex marriage

Healys’ family lawyers in London and Brighton can help you if you are a partner or spouse in a same-sex relationship. We can provide legal advice on pre-civil partnership and pre-nuptial agreements, adoption, and divorce or civil-partnership dissolution.

Please email us your enquiry to or you can call our offices to discuss your circumstances on an informal, no-obligation basis.