Over fifteen thousand same sex couples have taken part in civil partnerships in the last year, the Office of National Statistics revealed today.

The figures, released on the eve of the first anniversary of the Civil Partnerships Act, states that there were 15,672 civil partnerships formed in the UK between December 2005 and the end of September 2006.

A total of 14,084 partnerships took place in England with 537 in Wales, 942 in Scotland and 109 in Northern Ireland.

Gay charity Stonewall led the campaign for civil partnership laws, Public and Parliamentary Affairs spokesman, Alan Wardle, told PinkNews.co.uk that the statistics prove the charity was right when it pushed for the rights.

“We were vindicated when we thought there would be demand, we have been proven right. The statistics are a lot higher than the government expected.”

In December 2005, almost 2,000 partnerships were formed. The average number formed per month between January and March 2006 was 1,621 falling to 1,498 between July and September.

Ninety per cent of all civil partnerships were formed in England, with 3 per cent in Wales, 6 per cent in Scotland and 1 per cent in Northern Ireland. The corresponding proportions of the resident population aged 16 and over in these countries were 84 per cent, 5 per cent, 9 per cent and 3 per cent respectively.

London and the South East are the most popular regions in which to register a partnership. One in four of all civil partnerships between December 2005 and September 2006 took place in London, more than double the proportion of the population of the UK aged 16 and over (12 per cent) living in this region.

Up to the end of September 2006, there were more male civil partnerships than female in all four countries of the UK. The gap between the proportion of male partnerships and female partnerships was greatest in England (62 per cent male compared with 38 per cent female) and smallest in Wales (51 per cent male compared with 49 per cent female).

In Scotland and Northern Ireland, males accounted for 57 per cent and 56 per cent of all partnerships respectively. The gap between the proportion of male and female partnerships in England and Scotland appears to be reducing over time.

In London, there were approximately three times as many male partnerships formed as female partnerships. Yorkshire and The Humber is the only region where, since January 2006, the number of women registering in each quarter has been higher than the number of men. However, between July and September 2006, more women than men formed a partnership in the North East, East Midlands and East regions of England, and in Wales.

In December 2005, only 12 per cent of all civil partners were aged under 35. This had doubled to 25 per cent by September 2006. Conversely, the proportion of partners aged 50 and over halved from 50 per cent to 24 per cent within the same time period. The age distribution among men forming partnerships has changed over time.

Between December 2005 and March 2006, over half of men forming partnerships were aged 50 and over. This number declined to one in four by September 2006. The age distribution among women forming partnerships has been more consistent over time.