More couples saying 'I do' as marriage rates rise
SCOTLAND'S marriage rate has seen a "rare increase" after five years of decline, new figures have revealed.
The increase saw 8,288 couples married between April and June this year - a rise of 411 on the same period for 2009.
A leading Scottish relationship expert has said the increase was due to couples going back to more traditional values, while a Tory MSP demanded action to promote marriage to ensure the rate continued to rise.
Since 2005, the number of newlyweds for this period has been dropping consistently, from 8,633 to 7,877 in 2009 - but the figures have now increased.
There could be further increases in Scotland's marriage rate, as the third quarter of each year has traditionally seen the highest number of couples getting wed - with as many as 11,000 people getting married during the third quarter of any year in the past decade.
Meanwhile, the figure for civil partnerships fell by 18 to 127, comprising 53 men and 74 women.
Marion Laird, head of services at Scottish Marriage Care in Glasgow, said the reason for the increase in marriages could be due to people looking to go back to more traditional values.
She said: "I think people are looking for more commitment - people do seem to really want their relationships to work.
"Many couples now live together before deciding to get married, and taking those vows is a way to deepen the commitment they have already made, and it is a way to show it publicly. I wonder if we are shifting back to different values, as many couples I speak to are keen to be married before having children - which had up until recently been becoming a lot less common."
North-east Tory MSP Alex Johnstone welcomed the increase in marriages and called on the Scottish and UK governments to support those wanting to get wed.
He said: "I'm delighted to hear that the trend in a declining marriage rate has been reversed. We need to promote marriage as the best form of stable relationships and the best environment for bringing up children.
"The Scottish Parliament has previously voted to offer alternatives to marriage such as civil partnerships, but it's encouraging to see that marriage rates are doing better than these alternatives.It's important that government is committed to making sure that those who choose to marry are given every encouragement."
Duncan Macniven, Registrar General for Scotland, said: "The figures show a rare increase in the number of marriages in Scotland, although marriage rates fluctuate through the year and quarterly data can't be taken as indicative of the year ahead."
Meanwhile, the figures revealed that there were a total of 14,743 births were registered between April and June - 123 fewer than in the same period of 2009.
Taking the first two quarters of the year together, the number of births is slightly higher than in the first six months of 2009.
There were 12,812 deaths registered in Scotland in the second quarter of 2010 - 42 more than in the same period of 2009.
Deaths from coronary heart disease and stroke fell by 4.6 per cent and 4.5 per cent respectively, although deaths from cancer rose by 2.3 per cent.
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