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UK: Top law firm says number of same-sex marriages in first three months is ‘surprisingly low’

Joseph McCormick August 21, 2014

A leading family lawyer has said he is “surprised” at the “low take up” of same-sex marriage since the law changed on 29 March.

The ONS today revealed that 1,409 gay and lesbian couples married between 29 March and 30 June, when the first weddings took place after the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act was enacted.

1,227 civil partnerships took place in the first three days after the law was changed back in 2005, while only 95 marriages took place in the three days following 29 March 2014.

Andrew Newbury, the head of family law at Slater and Gordon, said the firm attributed the low number of same-sex weddings to couples already in civil partnerships who are unable to convert to marriage until 10 December.

He said: “It is surprising to see such a low take up in same sex marriages. We believe a major factor is currently couples who are bound by a civil partnership cannot legally be married.

“We have received many inquiries from same sex couples wanting information for how they can change their civil partnership to a marriage. Due to this we suspect the figures will increase when the law changes this December allowing civil partnership to convert to sex same marriage.”

The first marriages took place at 00:01 on 29 March in England and Wales. Those already in civil partnerships will be able to convert to marriage from 10 December.

Scotland’s same-sex marriage law is expected to be enacted in 2015. Northern Ireland currently has no plans to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry.

More: andrew nerbury, ONS, slater and gordon

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