Publication - Consultation paper

Future of civil partnership: consultation

Published: 28 Sep 2018

This consultation seeks views on the options for the future of civil partnership in Scotland.

Future of civil partnership: consultation
Annex C: Closure of civil partnership in other jurisdictions

Annex C: Closure of civil partnership in other jurisdictions

Introduction

1. The term "civil partnership" is used in Scotland and in the United Kingdom as a whole. Other countries use different terms, such as "civil union", "domestic partnership" or "registered partnership". The terms used below reflect the English language terminology used by the governments of the various jurisdictions in relation to their own systems of civil union.

2. The following (not exhaustive) list contains examples of jurisdictions where civil partnership has been closed as an option for couples. By closure we mean no new civil partnerships could be registered. The Scottish Government's understanding is that existing civil partnerships in the jurisdictions below could be retained if the couples wished.

Jurisdiction

Route to repeal of civil partnership

Denmark

Denmark introduced registered partnerships for same sex couples in 1989. Denmark introduced same sex marriage in 2012 and registered partnerships are no longer available.

Finland

Registered partnerships for same sex couples were in place from 2002 until 2017. That ended on 1 March 2017 when same sex marriage was introduced.

Germany

From 2001 until 2017, same sex couples were able to enter into registered life partnerships. That came to an end upon the introduction of same sex marriage on 1 October 2017.

Iceland

Registered partnerships for same sex couples were introduced in 1996. They became unavailable when same sex marriage was introduced in 2010.

Ireland

Ireland introduced same sex civil partnership on 1 January 2011. Upon the introduction of same sex marriage on 16 November 2015, civil partnership was closed to new couples.

Norway

Same sex registered partnerships were introduced in 1993. Following the introduction of same sex marriage in 2009, no new registered partnerships could be created.

Sweden

Registered partnerships for same sex couples were introduced in 1995. Following the introduction of same sex marriage in 2009, registered partnerships are no longer available.

3. In the cases above, in each jurisdiction the introduction of same sex marriage led to the withdrawal of the civil partnership option at the same time; repeal did not occur after same sex marriage becoming available.

Information from other jurisdictions: some examples

Denmark

4. Denmark [48] was the first country in the world to introduce civil unions for same sex couples in 1989. Called registered partnerships, they were replaced by same sex marriage in 2012. Statistics [49] on marriages and registered partnerships in Denmark since 1989 are below.

Year Opposite sex marriage Same sex marriages Registered partnerships
Male Female Total Male Female Total
1989 30,894 267 62 329
1990 31,513 342 115 457
1991 31,099 192 89 281
1992 32,188 187 90 277
1993 31,638 175 64 239
1994 35,321 165 101 266
1995 34,736 181 85 266
1996 35,953 155 108 263
1997 34,244 128 111 239
1998 34,733 133 131 264
1999 35,439 164 137 301
2000 38,388 179 131 310
2001 36,567 176 166 342
2002 37,210 136 162 298
2003 35,041 145 171 316
2004 37,711 133 200 333
2005 36,148 173 217 390
2006 36,452 175 218 393
2007 36,576 189 236 425
2008 37,376 187 254 441
2009 32,934 145 243 388
2010 30,949 163 247 410
2011 27,198   124 222 346
2012 28,235 104 164 268 56 61 117
2013 27,140 129 234 363 0 2 2
2014 27,967 155 209 364 3 3 6
2015 28,482 163 208 371 3 3 6
2016 30,389 160 218 387 3 3 6
2017 31,341 190 246 436 3 3 6

5. Generally, the above shows that registered partnerships were more popular with men than women: while available, there were on average 174 male registered partnerships per year and 154 female registered partnerships. However, from 2002 to 2012, more women entered into registered partnerships each year than men. In the six years since introduction of same sex marriage, the figures show that on average marriage is more popular with female same sex couples than with male: respectively, 213 and 150 per year.

Finland

6. Finland introduced registered partnerships on 1 March 2002. That was repealed fifteen years later, when same sex marriage was introduced on 1 March 2017, along with the repeal of the law on creation of registered partnerships. Existing registered partnerships could remain in place after 1 March 2017 if the couple wished. Figures [50] from Finland are set out below.

Year Opposite sex marriage Same sex marriages Registered partnerships
Male Female Total Male Female Total
2002 28,522 240 206 246
2003 26,923 84 106 190
2004 30,844 84 102 186
2005 30,974 100 100 200
2006 29,946 84 107 191
2007 31,420 93 120 213
2008 32,947 91 158 249
2009 31,975 91 155 246
2010 31,925 124 198 322
2011 30,557 111 222 333
2012 31,008 110 219 329
2013 27,238 126 247 373
2014 26,551 117 216 323
2015 26,735 97 221 318
2016 26,503 94 157 251
2017 25,988 181 374 554 21 15 36

7. Statistics Finland said when discussing the 2017 data [51] ,

" One could say that the amendment to the Marriage Act inspired same-sex couples to get married when we compare the number of marriages contracted to the number of partnership registrations in recent years. In all, 554 contracted marriages in ten months is more than one and a half times the average number of registered partnerships in the previous five years and more than double the number in 2016."

8. The Finnish Population Register reported [52] that in the period March to August, 1122 registered partnerships had changed to marriage. This is some 28% of the 4,006 partnerships registered in total since introduction in 2002.

Ireland

9. In Ireland, the Marriage Act 2015 removed the legislative requirement for marriage to be between parties of the opposite sex and repealed provisions that had provided for the creation of same sex civil partnerships by registration.

10. The reason for contemporaneous introduction of same sex marriage and repeal of same sex civil partnership was – perhaps unusually in closure models – constitutional. Article 41 of the Irish Constitution sets out that the State is required to "guard with special care the institution of Marriage, on which the Family is founded, and to protect it against attack." When civil partnership was introduced, it was not made available to opposite sex couples on the grounds that it would breach that obligation by creating a competition to marriage. Similarly, upon the introduction of same sex marriage, same civil partnership could not continue to be available without competing with the new form of marriage and consequently breaching the obligation.

11. Statistics from Ireland [53] are below.

Year Opposite sex marriage Same sex marriage Civil partnership
Male Female Total Male Female Total
2011 19,855 - - - 335 201 536
2012 20,713 - - - 263 166 429
2013 20,680 - - - 208 130 338
2014 22,045 - - - 242 150 392
2015 [54] 22,025 47 44 91 250 126 376
2016 21,570 606 450 1,056 5 2 7 [55]
2017 21,262 424 335 759 - - -

Norway

12. Same sex registered partnerships were introduced in Norway on 1 August 1993. It was the second country to do so, after Denmark (discussed above). Same sex marriage became possible on 1 January 2009, after which no new registered partnerships could be created. The intention behind its introduction was to ensure that opposite and same sex couples are both equal under the law.

13. Norwegian statistics [56] on registered partnerships (from 1993 to 2008) and same sex marriage (from 2009 to 2016) are below.

Year Opposite sex marriage Same sex marriage Civil partnership
Male Female Total Male Female Total
1993 18,897 115 41 156
1994 19,999 86 47 133
1995 21,079 64 34 98
1996 22,605 80 47 127
1997 23,050 74 43 117
1998 22,464 71 44 115
1999 23,600 82 62 144
2000 25,510 78 76 154
2001 23,152 108 77 185
2002 24,252 105 78 183
2003 22,565 116 88 204
2004 22,546 107 85 192
2005 22,584 97 95 192
2006 21,948 102 125 227
2007 23,728 110 157 267
2008 25,349 90 134 174
2009 24,582 105 178 283
2010 23,577 97 167 164
2011 23,135 93 166 259
2012 24,346 102 167 269
2013 23,410 90 162 252
2014 22,887 106 163 269
2015 22,738 113 187 300
2016 22,537 121 157 278
2017 22,111 119 214 333

14. The figures from Norway are consistent with those from other jurisdictions in showing that more female same sex couples than male same sex couples get married: for each male same sex marriage there are 1.6 female same sex marriages.


Contact

Sarah.Meanley@gov.scot