Same-sex marriage backers hail 20% rise in Scottish civil partnerships
THE number of civil partnership ceremonies for same-sex couples in Scotland has increased by almost 20 per cent in the past year, new figures show.
The figures come as the Scottish Government confirmed it would press ahead with plans to introduce same-sex marriage.
There was a 19.1 per cent rise in civil partnerships in Scotland between 2010 and 2011 – a significantly higher figure than the 6.6 per cent rise for England and the 6.4 per cent rise for the UK.
In Wales, the number fell by 6 per cent and in Northern Ireland civil partnerships were down by 23.3 per cent, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
There was also a 28.7 per cent increase in civil partnership dissolutions granted in the UK between 2010 and 2011, with the rate for Scotland rising by just under 30 per cent.
Civil partnerships were introduced in 2005 to give same-sex couples the same legal rights as married couples. However, the law does not allow such unions to be referred to as “marriage”.
Campaigners seized on the increase in civil partnerships to claim there was a demand for same-sex marriage and that the figure would be much higher once the law is changed in Scotland. A spokesman from the Equality Network said: “We know that if same-sex marriage were introduced more individuals would be recorded in these figures, as many don’t see civil partnerships as a proper recognition of their relationships.”
Meanwhile, the ONS figures showed that although there was a recent surge in civil partnership numbers the number of ceremonies was much higher during the first full year the ceremonies were given legal status.
There were 1,047 civil partnerships conducted in Scotland during 2006, with the figure falling to 688 the following year and then to 525 in 2008, dropping to 498 in 2009 and 465 in 2010, before the 19.1 per cent increase to 554 last year.
Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie, a leading supporter of same sex marriage, claimed that the figures showed that ceremonies for same sex couples were now “mainstream”.
Mr Rennie said: “Same-sex marriage will also soon be viewed as mainstream, which is why we need the legislation in place to make marriage available to everyone.”
However, the Catholic Church in Scotland has previously attacked the plans for same sex marriage as a “dangerous social experiment”.
Health secretary Nicola Sturgeon insisted legalising same-sex marriage was the “right thing to do” following a bitter debate involving equality campaigners and religious bodies who fear it will restrict their freedom to practise their faith.
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “As we indicated in our consultation, same sex couples can and do establish loving relationships which they wish to formalise in civil partnerships.”
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Wednesday 22 May 2013
Temperature: 3 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 5 C to 11 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: North west