I was surprised to read from the Office for National statistics the other week that a total of only 1,409 same sex marriages took place in England & Wales between March 29 and June 30 2014 and just over half of those were female couples.
Although some would say this is quite a high proportion of people marrying under the new legislation (The Marriage Same Sex Couples Act 2013) I see this as quite a low level especially in view of the publicity and political campaigns that were around at the time the bill was passed through Parliament.
I began thinking why is it then that so many same sex couples have not taken the opportunity to celebrate their relationships and marry under this historic piece of legislation?
Some of my friends and colleagues who I spoke to about this told me that they did not want to marry and therefore be associated with what, for them, was once a traditional institution that was very anti-gay and valued only the sanctity of the heterosexual ‘family.’ Others on the other hand have said to me that they would prefer to enter in to a civil partnership since this remains available for same sex couples only and therefore provides for a level of ‘difference’ which sets them aside from their heterosexual counterparts; a difference they find unique and appealing that is not the ‘norm.’
As a lawyer I believe however that the low statistics account for the fact that many same sex couples are already in civil partnerships and are therefore unable to legally change their partnership into a marriage until later in the year.
Whatever the reason it will be interesting to revisit these statistics next year and see whether the uptake in respect to same sex marriage remains, in my view, a low one.
If you are considering entering into a same sex marriage or civil partnership or are in a civil partnership and would like to discuss your legal position then please call our Family Team directly on 0113 246 0622.
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