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1,400 same-sex couples get married

Just over 1,400 gay couples tied the knot in the first three months since the historic same-sex marriage law was introduced.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said 1,409 marriages took place in England and Wales between March 29 and June 30.

Of those, 56% were between female couples while 44% were between male couples.

The number has steadily increased each month, with the first marriages taking place just moments after midnight on March 29 when same-sex marriage became legal.

Over the next three days there were 95 marriage ceremonies.

James Brown, a partner at JMW Solicitors, said: "The novelty and significance of marriage becoming available led to an initial rush among same-sex couples wanting to be among the very first to assume the same rights and protection afforded to heterosexual couples.

"In the three months since, there has been a much more gradual increase and I would expect that pattern to continue, at least for the foreseeable future."

He added that the higher number of female gay marriages reflected a similar pattern in civil partnerships.

The figure was "surprisingly" low, according to Andrew Newbury, head of family law at Slater & Gordon, who expects it to increase later this year when changes to the law will allow couples already in civil partnerships to convert to marriage.

"It is surprising to see such a low take-up in same-sex marriages. We believe a major factor is currently couples who are bound by a civil partnership cannot legally be married," he said.

"We have received many inquiries from same-sex couples wanting information for how they can change their civil partnership to a marriage.

"Due to this, we suspect the figures will increase when the law changes this December allowing civil partnership to convert to same- sex marriage."

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act came into force in July last year but it was not until March 13 this year that couples were able to register their intention to marry under the Act for the first time.


From Belfast Telegraph