Almost 350 same sex couples in Scotland have had civil partnerships, it has been revealed today in the first official statistics of the ceremony in the country.

A total of 343 partnerships have been recorded since the Civil Partnership Act came into force in December last year.

From January to March 2006, 259 civil partnerships (167 male and 92 female) were registered, with a further 84 (53 male and 31 female) in December 2005, bringing the number to 343.

In the first three months of 2006 there were 13,568 births, an increase of 212 (1.6 per cent) compared to the same period last year. The number of deaths (14,876) was 741 (4.7 per cent) lower than in the first quarter of 2005.

Marriages in the first quarter of 2006 (3,493) were down by 9 per cent on the first quarter of 2005 (3,834.

Registrar General Duncan Macniven said: “These figures show births are up, deaths are down and fewer people got married in the first quarter of 2006 compared to last year.

“Over 300 couples have registered civil partnerships in Scotland since the Act came into force in December 2005. Local registrars have been exemplary in introducing this new legislation, helping same-sex partners to have a relaxed and happy experience on their important day.”