The popularity of civil partnerships has far outstripped official expectations, with figures showing five times as many couples have made the commitment than originally forecast. The latest figures, published on Tuesday, show the number of couples entering civil partnerships in Britain rose by 6% last year to 6,795.
More than 100,000 people have now entered a civil partnership in Britain since they first became legal in December 2005…Official estimates were that between 11,000 and 22,000 would make the commitment in the first five years.
The latest figures also confirm that in the first years more men than women formed civil partnerships, but since 2009 the numbers have become more equal. The average age for entering a civil partnership is just over 40 for men and 38 for women…
Andy Wasley, from Stonewall, said: “We’re delighted that civil partnerships have proved to be so popular, both with same-sex couples and in wider society. YouGov polling for Stonewall shows four in five people across Britain support civil partnerships, and seven in 10 support equal marriage. This modest step towards full equality needn’t take much parliamentary time. It’s time for the government to get on with it”…
The Civil Partnership Act 2004 allowed same-sex couples in the UK to register their relationships for the first time. People who enter civil partnerships get a package of rights and responsibilities, including on tax and benefits, and the ability to apply for parental responsibility for their partner’s children and for the full range of financial orders available to married couples on divorce.
A Home Office spokesperson welcomed the figures and said those already in a civil partnership would be able to convert their union into a marriage under proposals already published: “This government believes society is stronger when couples commit to each other, which is why it is so encouraging to see more same-sex couples entering civil partnerships.
If they keep civil partnerships as an alternative to traditional marriage – with the same rights and responsibilities as marriage; but, fewer bureaucratic requirements for dissolution – the Brits will no doubt experience the same dynamic expansion of civil partnership throughout the whole populace of heterosexual couples. That’s what has already happened in France.