North Somerset same-sex marriage rates reach all-time high

23 same sex weddings took place in North Somerset in 2017.

23 same sex weddings took place in North Somerset in 2017. - Credit: PA

One in 45 weddings in North Somerset are now same-sex, new figures reveal.

Across the district, 23 same-sex weddings were conducted in 2017, the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) data shows.

At 2.2 per cent of all ceremonies, this is the highest annual rate in the area since the first same-sex marriages were recorded in 2015.

However, this lags the national average of 2.9 per cent.

Of the weddings held in North Somerset, nine were between men, and 14 between women.

However, the data does not include same-sex civil partnerships which were converted into marriages.

Though the proportion of same-sex weddings was a record in England and Wales, the 6,932 in 2017 decreased slightly from the 7,019 the year before.

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Laura Russell, director of campaigns, policy and research at Stonewall, said: “It’s wonderful to see the numbers of same-sex couples getting married and celebrating their love in England and Wales.

“While there’s still lots to do before the lived day-to-day experience of many lesbian, gay, bi and trans people is truly equal, and many same-sex couples across the world aren’t able to marry, this news is a hopeful sign of more good things to come.”

Across England, the number of marriages has remained steady over the last five years, with 242,842 conducted in 2017.

Kanak Ghosh, from the ONS, said: “Marriage rates for opposite-sex couples are now at the lowest level on record.

“This continues a gradual long-term decline seen since the early 1970s, with numbers falling by a third over the past 40 years.”

The same ONS figures show the rate of opposite-sex couples marrying in a religious venue in North Somerset has stayed broadly the same with 1,002 marriages in the district, or 18 per cent, conducted in a church, synagogue or other religious venue, compared with 23 per cent across England and Wales.

Andrew Copson, chief executive of Humanists UK, said the majority of people do not identify as religious.

He said: “It’s not surprising couples don’t look to religion to celebrate the most meaningful moments in their lives anymore.

“Instead, they want non-religious ceremonies that reflect their beliefs, their values and their love.”