Civil partnerships in 12 per cent decline

More than 6,000 gay couples tied the knot last year, as civil partnerships fell by 12 per cent in popularity. There were 6,281 civil partnerships in 2009, down from 7,169 the previous year.

Civil partnership dissolutions have almost doubled since 2008 – from 180 to 351. More women than men dissolved a civil partnership in England, Wales and Scotland in 2009. In England and Wales, 63 per cent of civil partnerships dissolved in 2009 were to female couples. In Scotland the difference was even more marked, with 71 per cent of dissolutions to female couples.

In order to have a civil partnership dissolved in the UK a couple must have been in either a registered civil partnership or a recognised foreign same-sex relationship for 12 months.

There have been 40,237 civil partnerships formed since the Civil Partnership Act came into force in December 2005 up to the end of 2009.

The number of civil partnerships in the UK peaked in the first quarter of 2006 at 4,869, as many same-sex couples in longstanding relationships formalised their status as soon as the law was introduced. Since then the number of civil partnerships has fallen to an average of 1,570 per quarter in 2009.