Same-sex couples account for one in 20 Irish marriages

CSO figures show 1,056 same-sex marriages took place in 2016

Cormac Gollogy and Richard Dowling on first anniversary of their marriage last November, the first same-sex marriage in Ireland. Photograph: Alan Betson

Cormac Gollogy and Richard Dowling on first anniversary of their marriage last November, the first same-sex marriage in Ireland. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

There were 1,056 same-sex marriages in 2016 accounting for almost 5 per cent of all marriages.

According to the Central Statistics Office, there were 606 male unions and 450 female unions in 2016. Last year is the first 12-month period for which same-sex marriage statistics are available. The same-sex marriage referendum was passed on May 23rd, 2015, with 62 per cent vote in favour and 38 per cent against. Same-sex marriage legislation came into effect on November 16th, 2015.

The average age for heterosexual couples to marry continues to rise as the average age of grooms last year was 35.7 years while the average bride was 33.8 years’ old. This compares to 29 for a groom in 1966 and 25.7 years for a bride. The average age of men entering into same sex-marriages was 40.5 years in 2016 while for women was 41 years.

The CSO marriage and civil partnership figures for 2016 show there were 22,626 marriages and civil partnerships last year, with religious ceremonies accounting for 64.8 per cent of all marriages.

Carol Anne Hennessy, statistician at the CSO, said the majority of same-sex couples (850) opted for a civil marriage ceremony while 97 couples chose a humanist ceremony and 73 couples had a Spiritualist Union of Ireland ceremony.

Different ceremonies

For heterosexual marriages, a humanist ceremony was the choice of 1,437 brides and grooms while 965 couples opted for the Spiritual Union of Ireland ceremony. The Roman Catholic ceremony was the most popular choice among heterosexual couples with 12,140 opting for the traditional event.

The CSO also found that the summer months proved the most popular for heterosexual couples. “The warmer months of July and August were the most popular for weddings while the cooler months of January and February were the least popular,” Ms Hennessy added. “Friday and Saturdays continue to be the most popular days to tie the knot, while Sundays and Mondays remain the least popular days of the week to marry.”

Saturday, July 30th, was the most popular date for heterosexual couples to marry with 272 (1.3 per cent) marriages taking place on that day. This was followed by Saturday, June 4th, when 259 (1.2 per cent) marriages occurred.

New Year’s Eve was the third most popular date with 249 (1.2 per cent) marriage celebrations on that day.

One-third of all same-sex marriages were on a Friday, with Sunday proving the least popular for both same sex and heterosexual couples. Friday, July 29th, saw the highest number of same-sex marriages with 17 (1.6 per cent) occurring on that day. This was followed by Friday, July 15th, when 13 (1.2 per cent) took place. There were 2,444 marriages involving at least one divorced person in 2016, including 552 marriages where both parties were divorced.