THERE WERE 429 civil partnerships in the state last year according to the Annual Report of the General Registrar.
Of these, 263 couples were male and 166 were female. The provision for civil partnerships was introduced in 2011 as part of legislation to give rights to both same-sex and cohabiting couples.
Of the 858 individuals who entered civil partnerships in 2012, 632 or 74% were Irish citizens. Excluding Ireland, 53 other nationalities entered civil partnerships in 2012. The biggest age group were the 31-40 age bracket, accounting for 290 of the partnerships, but there were also seven partnerships among couples over 70.
Brian Sheehan of the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) says that the same-sex couples who have engaged in civil partnerships are “pioneers” in that they’ve contradicted some of the ignorance surrounding gay and lesbian relationships.
Any doubt about gay and lesbian couples have been dispelled (by civil partnerships), with people going to ceremonies and seeing gay couples on front of them celebrating their love for each other. It’s given visibility to the love of gay people and paved the way the constitutional convention vote to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples.
Sheehan says that although some couples may hold out to wait for a referendum on the extension of marriage rights, civil partnerships give couples many of the same rights as full marriage and offered them a choice which they did not have before.
GLEN says that in the two years since Civil Partnerships first took place in Ireland in April 2011, 1,088 lesbian and gay couples have entered civil partnerships across every county in Ireland. A further 250 couples have given notice that they will enter civil partnerships later this year.
Also contained in the general registrar’s report was the confirmation that there has been a marked increase in the number of civil marriages since the introduction of divorce 1995. In 1996, there were 928 civil marriages, or 6% of total marriages whereas last year there were 5,798 or 28% of the total.
The increase in the incidence of civil marriage since the mid-1990s following the introduction of divorce in 1995 there has been a consequent rise in the number of re-marriages. Changes in the demographic profile of persons marrying may also contribute the the rise.
The number of religious marriages, as a proportion of total marriages, fell from approximately 77% in 2007 to 72% in 2012.
Read the full Annual Report of the General Registrar (pdf) here