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Many couples still favour civil partnerships over same sex marriage, data suggests

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New research suggests that civil partnerships are still very popular across the UK, despite the introduction of same sex marriage.

According to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the uptake of civil partnerships rose by 3.4 per cent in 2016 over figures recorded in 2015 – suggesting that demand continues to rise.

In total, 890 civil partnerships were registered across the UK over the course of the year, marking the first annual increase since same sex marriage was first introduced in 2013.

Civil partnerships were particularly popular among men, with more than two thirds (68 per cent) of all partnerships registered in 2016 set up by gay men.

In fact, more UK men entered into a civil partnership last year than in any other year since 2005, when civil partnerships were first introduced.

Furthermore, while men were more likely to enter into a civil partnership last year, women were more likely to dissolve one, the data reveals.

There were 1,313 civil partnership dissolutions recorded in England and Wales last year – 60 per cent of which were granted to female same sex couples.

Commenting on the data, Nicola Hains, of the ONS, said: “Following legislative changes enabling marriages of same sex couples from March 2014, civil partnership formations declined as the majority of same sex couples opted for marriage instead.

“However, 2016 represents the first increase in civil partnership formations since this change, showing that a minority of same sex couples still prefer this option to marriage.”

Graeme Fraser, of family law foundation Resolution, added that the figures demonstrated how “modern families are changing” and that the law ought to “keep up.”

“These figures will be of interest to policymakers and anyone monitoring the debate about extending civil partnerships to heterosexual couples – who may also wish to choose this way of marking their commitment to each other over marriage,” he said.