1,400 gay weddings in England, Wales in first three months

21st August 2014, Comments 0 comments

Just over 1,400 gay couples tied the knot in the three months after same-sex marriage was allowed in England and Wales, figures out Thursday showed.

The Office for National Statistics said 1,409 marriages took place between March 29 and June 30.

Of those, 56 percent were between female couples, and 44 percent between male couples, the ONS said.

The first weddings took place just after midnight on March 29, and the numbers have steadily increased since then.

"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," said James Brown, a partner at law firm JMW Solicitors.

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

The figures will likely surge from December once civil partnerships can be converted into marriages.

Introduced in 2005, civil partnerships allowed gay couples essentially the same rights and responsibilities as civil unions, but were not termed "marriages".

Within the United Kingdom, Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own legal systems.

Scotland's first same-sex marriages are expected later this year, while there are no plans to introduce gay marriage in Northern Ireland.

© 2014 AFP

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