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Info And Stats On Gay Marriage In The United Kingdom

The United Kingdom has generally been keeping up with current times when it comes to gay marriage. Manplay looks at the history of gay marriage in the UK. This has been a topic of discussion for 300 years in the United Kingdom in one way or another, but it wasn't until now that it became legal. Even though the vast majority of citizens supported the idea of gay marriage being legal in the UK, it took time to happen.

United Kingdom Gay Marriage History

In the United Kingdom, gay marriage was debated as far back as 1682, when two women attempted to marry. One of the women disguised herself as a man, but when it was discovered that she was, in fact, a woman, the marriage was ruled to be void. This event jumpstarted several decades of discussion on gay marriage in the UK. As recently as 2003, there was legislation in certain parts of the UK making a distinction that legal marriage would only be considered if it was between a man and a woman. However, in 2004, there was a law passed that made it possible for gay couples to legally register their relationships. That was the Civil Partnership Act, which went into effect in December of 2005. Once gay marriage officially became legalized in 2013, couples that had previously registered as civil partnerships had the option to change their status to married if they wished.

United Kingdom Gay Marriage Statistics

People in the UK have been waiting for United Kingdom gay marriage to become legally recognized and allowed for a long time. Once it finally did become legal, over 15,000 gay couples got married. Officially, since 2014, 15,098 gay couples were wed. Some of those were civil partnership conversions. 7,366 registrations were new gay marriages, while 7,732 civil partners converted their marital status to married. Clearly, gay marriage was an important aspect of equality for Britons. Once gay marriage became legal, the number of civil partnerships in the UK by a whopping 70% in one year, between 2013 and 2014.

Public opinion toward gay marriage in the United Kingdom has generally been positive. This was the case even years before it became legal in the region. A 2004 survey had found that 52% of respondents felt that gay marriage should be legal, while 45% did not. When it came to civil unions, 65% of those surveyed thought they gay couples should be allowed legal status. In 2006, a poll conducted through the entire European Union of opinions on legal gay marriage found that British people were more supportive of the idea than other areas of the EU. 46% of Britons thought that it should be legal, while the average EU respondent support was 44%. A couple of years later, in 2008, a new poll found that the majority of Britons still felt that gay marriage should be legalized. 55% were in support, while 45% were against it. The number of major support kept increasing as time went on. In 2009, it was found that now 61% of the public felt that gay couples should be able to be legally married if they wanted to. This opinion was extended to having the option to marry instead of just having the option of civil partnership. 33% of respondents in that survey were in disagreement with that. In 2010, public support had grown to 73%. 41% of people were in support of gay marriages, and 37% were in favour of civil partnerships only.

The number of people opposed to gay marriage had actually decreased by 3% from the previous year. A survey in 2011 broke up the numbers of support for gay unions a little bit, and the results were interesting. 43% of those surveyed thought that gay couples should have the legal right to marry, while 34% felt that they should only be allowed to have recognized civil partnerships, and 15% felt that gay couples shouldn't have any legal recognition at all.

Each year the numbers of support kept climbing, and yet no legislative change was being made. 75% of people in a 2012 survey support gay marriage, and in 2013 that number was even higher. Another poll in 2013, possibly meant to get things going in government, found that 55% of respondents felt that gay marriage was an important election issue, and would more likely to vote for a candidate who supported it also. 2014 found that 68% of those polled wanted gay marriage to be legal, and only 26% opposed it. People were starting to get frustrated at the lack of government action at this point. While there were lots of talk about making gay marriage legal, it still had yet to be done. Once Britons had equal gay marriage rights in their countries, they set their sights elsewhere. By 2015, when gay marriage had been legal for a year, studies showed that 71% of British citizens supported a change in legislation throughout Europe, not just in their country. Only 24% of people didn't agree with this notion.

When it came to age groups and support of gay marriage, perhaps not surprisingly, young people were more likely to be in favour. In the age range of 18 to 34, 80% of people supported gay marriage. Ages 25 to 34 were in 78% agreement that the UK should legalize gay marriage, and only 19% were opposed to the idea. The age group that was least likely to support gay marriage in the United Kingdom were people over the age of 65. In this demographic, 37% of respondents felt that gay marriage should be legal and were in support, while 52% of them disagreed with the whole idea.

As far as gender, when it came to supporting gay marriage in the United Kingdom, women were slightly more likely than men to be in favour of it. 67% of women supported the idea of gay marriage in the UK, whereas the number for men was slightly lower, at 55%. A similar poll found the numbers to be 75% for female support, and 61% of men. These numbers referred to the number of respondents polled in that particular gay marriage survey.

Certain political party supporters were more likely to vote in favour of gay marriage as well. 73% of liberal democrats favoured the idea of gay marriage, 64% of Labour supporters agreed, and 53% of Conservatives thought that gay marriage should be legal as well.

Gay Marriage In Regions Of The UK

In most regions, gay marriage in the UK was widely accepted to the public even before it was legal. Some areas were more receptive than others to the changes made to legislation, but even those are coming around to equality.


In Wales, gay marriage is legally recognized since the inception of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013. The majority of the Welsh public are in support of gay marriage and gay rights, so it was quickly and widely accepted even before the Act went into effect.


English people and the majority of Parliament members have been in favour of gay marriage for some time. Having it become legally allowed wasn't as difficult as in some areas of the UK, and was widely celebrated once the law passed.


Scotland is one of the most progressive and accepting countries in Europe when it comes to gay marriage. Scots have long felt that gay couples should have equal marriage rights, but they had to wait until their big brother England changed their legislation before they could do the same.

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland has a rocky relationship with gay marriage. Being an extremely religious country, the idea of extending marriage rights to gay couples has been harder for the public and the Northern Irish government to accept. People are changing their opinions, as studies have shown, and the idea of gay marriage is gaining more support. It is currently not legal, however, for gay couples to marry in Northern Ireland.

If you're interested in learning more about gay marriage in the United Kingdom, check out these:

- Wales:

"Welsh people haven't always been known to be the most open-minded. This is especially true when it comes to gay rights, and gay marriage in particular. Times are changing, though, and so are attitudes...In March of 2012, the government proposed a consultation that would allow gay marriage in..." Read more.

- England:

"England has been pretty progressive when it comes to gay marriage. This article looks at how, and some history behind it becoming legal. The English government had been extremely vocal in their intent to legalize gay marriage in the past decade, which led to positive changes being made to the..." Read more.

- Northern Ireland

"The road to having gay marriage legalized in Northern Ireland has been a rocky one. Gay couples do have recognition in the region as civil partnerships, but are not legally allowed to marry. The decision on the matter is not currently final, but..." Read more.

- Scotland

"Scotland has a long and tumultuous history, but that can't be said for the legalization of gay marriage. looks at what it took to get there. Scotland has had a remarkably modern attitude about gay rights and gay couples, which is why it's one of the best countries..." Read more.