Just Sociology

The Complexities of Marriage and Civil Partnership for Same-Sex Couples

Marriage and civil partnership are two legal institutions that afford many couples various rights and benefits including tax advantages, inheritance, and legal recognition of their relationships. However, the distinctions between the two have become a complex topic recently, with same-sex couples gaining the right to marry in many countries.

This article examines the differences between marriage and civil partnership, the legal aspects for same-sex couples versus opposite-sex couples, and the trends in same-sex and opposite-sex partnerships. Additionally, we discuss the national statistics on the marital status of same-sex couples and analyze any disparities within the LGBTQ community.

Comparison between Marriage and Civil Partnership

Differences in legal aspects for same and opposite-sex couples

Marriage and civil partnerships are legal frameworks that afford couples rights and protections under the law. However, there are variations in the rights and protections afforded to same-sex and opposite-sex couples in both institutions.

Many countries offer marriage to all couples, regardless of sex, and in these countries, the legal rights of same-sex and opposite-sex couples are identical. However, in countries where civil partnerships remain the only option for same-sex couples, there may be significant differences in the legal benefits and protections conveyed.

For instance, in the United Kingdom, civil partnerships were created as a way for same-sex couples to obtain legal recognition of their relationship without the requirement of a religious or traditional ceremony. However, civil partnerships do not confer all the same rights and benefits as marriage, including inheritance rights, full pension benefits, and recognition overseas.

Comparison of trends in civil partnerships and marriage among same-sex and opposite-sex couples

In many countries, same-sex marriage has become legal and is now an option for couples. However, civil partnerships were once the only option for same-sex couples, and trends in these partnerships can provide insights into the legal and social recognition of same-sex relationships.

In the United Kingdom, for example, same-sex couples could only enter into civil partnerships until 2014, where they gained the right to marry. This shift had a massive impact on the trajectory of same-sex relationships, with a sharp decline in civil partnerships recorded after the legalization of same-sex marriage.

The trend is mirrored in many other countries where same-sex marriage has become legal, such as France and Germany.

Same-sex Couples and Marital Status

Statistics on married, civil partnered and cohabiting same-sex couples. Data from various countries reveal the diverse marital statuses of the LGBTQ community.

For instance, in the United States, approximately 46% of same-sex couples are married, while 22% are in a civil partnership or domestic partnership. The remaining 32% are single or living with a partner without any formal recognition of their union.

Similarly, in the United Kingdom, 57% of same-sex couples were married as of 2019, and 30% were in a civil partnership. The remainder were living together without legal recognition.

Across the European Union, the percentage of same-sex couples who are married ranges from fewer than 5% in some countries to above 50% in others.

Analysis of marital status of LGBTQ community

While there have been significant strides in the recognition of same-sex couples’ marriages and civil partnerships, there remain disparities within the LGBTQ community based on race, ethnicity, and economic status. In the United States, for example, studies have shown that Black and Latinx same-sex couples are less likely to be married or in a civil partnership than their White counterparts.

These disparities are attributed to a host of factors, including discrimination, poverty, and social stigma surrounding same-sex relationships. Furthermore, studies show that, on average, same-sex couples earn less than opposite-sex couples, and this difference affects their ability to marry or enter into a civil partnership.

Income disparities, lack of job security, and the lack of legal protections in some countries all affect the ability of same-sex couples to marry and build families. Conclusion:

This article has provided an overview of the differences between marriage and civil partnerships, and how those differences can affect same-sex and opposite-sex couples.

We have also explored the trends in partnerships and marital status of same-sex couples in various countries. While there have been significant strides in the recognition of LGBTQ rights, there remain disparities based on race, ethnicity, and economic status that can limit access to legal recognition and protections.

Same-Sex Marriage in a Global Perspective

Overview of the countries that allow same-sex marriage

Same-sex marriage has now been legalized in many countries across the world, and the number of countries recognizing same-sex partnerships is growing every year. Currently, as of 2021, 29 countries have legalized same-sex marriage.

These countries include Canada, Brazil, Argentina, South Africa, Spain, and the United States. The legislative pathway for the adoption of same-sex marriage varies from one country to another, with some countries using parliamentary legislation, while others achieve same-sex marriage through court rulings.

Comparison of rights and legal aspects of same-sex marriage across different countries

Legal aspects of same-sex marriage, such as recognition of civil status rights, and family law implications can differ by country. For instance, in Australia, same-sex couples have the same rights and obligations as opposite-sex couples when it comes to property and financial matters.

In contrast, in Germany, same-sex couples are entitled to far fewer legal rights concerning benefits and inheritance when compared to heterosexual couples. There are also differences in the legal requirements for same-sex marriages.

For instance, some countries require residency or proof of citizenship as a prerequisite. Some countries require same-sex couples to undergo health checks, and others allow same-sex marriages only through certain faith communities.

Civil Partnership Dissolutions

Analysis of Civil Partnership Dissolutions in 2018

Civil partnerships are legal arrangements that allow same-sex couples in some countries to have their relationships legally recognized. These partnerships offer similar legal protections as marriages, and couples who are in civil partnerships can dissolve their partnership through a legal process known as civil partnership dissolutions.

In 2018, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) recorded that approximately 890 couples in England and Wales had ended their civil partnership, representing a decrease of 6% compared to 2017. The decrease was attributed to more couples opting to convert their civil partnerships to marriages since the legalization of same-sex marriage.

Comparison of civil partnership formations and dissolutions

There has been a decline in the formation of civil partnerships in many countries where same-sex marriage is legal. For instance, in the United Kingdom, since same-sex marriage was legalized in 2014, civil partnership formations have diminished significantly.

From 2015 to 2019, the number of civil partnerships formed decreased from 6,305 per year to 1,546 per year. This decline reflects the shift away from civil partnerships towards marriage as the preferred way for same-sex couples to formalize their relationships.

Notwithstanding the steady decrease in civil partnerships, civil partnership dissolutions are also on the decline, suggesting that same-sex partnerships are likely to be more stable. The reduction in civil partnership dissolutions can be attributed to the decreasing number of civil partnerships being formed and a shift to marriage as an option for same-sex couples.

Analysis of same-sex divorce rates and duration of marriage

The duration of same-sex marriages or civil partnerships is an essential aspect of understanding their stability. Long-term stability can imply higher levels of commitment and relationship satisfaction amongst same-sex partners.

Research from the UK ONS in 2019 shows that same-sex female couples experienced lower divorce rates than male couples or heterosexual couples. Same-sex females couples also experienced longer relationships, with an average of 9.9 years, whereas same-sex male couples experienced a shorter duration at 8.5 years.


This article has delved into same-sex marriage and civil partnership dissolutions in a global context. The increasing number of countries legalizing same-sex marriage is a significant achievement for LGBTQ rights, and while legal aspects of marriage differ from country to country, same-sex couples are now able to enjoy many of the same benefits and rights as opposite-sex couples.

Civil partnership formations are decreasing in countries where marriage is available to same-sex couples, which can indicate a preference towards marriage, and civil partnership dissolutions are declining, reflecting the stability of same-sex relationships. It is clear that while there are still disparities and challenges within the LGBTQ community, progress is being made towards greater legal recognition and protections for same-sex couples.

In conclusion, this article covered several important topics related to same-sex relationships, including the differences between marriage and civil partnerships, trends in same-sex partnership formation, and legal aspects of same-sex marriage. Additionally, we examined civil partnership dissolutions and same-sex divorce rates.

It is evident from the data that same-sex couples continue to face disparities in access to legal protections and recognition, but progress towards greater equality and legal recognition is being made.



What is the difference between marriage and civil partnership? A: Marriage is a legal union between two people, while civil partnerships provide legal recognition of relationships without the formalities of traditional marriage.

2. Are same-sex couples allowed to marry in all countries?

A: No, in some countries, same-sex marriage is still not legal. 3.

Are civil partnerships still relevant? A: Civil partnerships are still relevant, but in countries where same-sex marriage is legal, there has been a decline in the formation of civil partnerships.

4. What is a civil partnership dissolution?

A: A civil partnership dissolution is a legal process of ending a civil partnership. 5.

What is the duration of same-sex marriages or civil partnerships? A: The duration of same-sex relationships varies, but research suggests that same-sex female couples tend to have longer relationships compared to male couples or heterosexual couples.

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