Over 1,000 same sex couples tied the knot in 2016

Figures for 2016 show that same sex couples now account for nearly 5% of all Irish marriages

Over 1,000 same sex couples tied the knot in 2016

Gay Pride supporters march through Dublin one year after the successful passing of the Marriage Equality Referendum, 24-06-2017. Image: Eamonn Farrell

Over 1,000 same-sex couples took advantage of Ireland’s new marriage laws and tied the knot in 2016.

The latest CSO stats for 2016 – the first full year since the marriage referendum in May 2015 – found that same sex unions now account for 5% of all Irish marriages.

Out of the 1,056 same sex unions recorded - 606 involved male couples and 450 involved females.

The figures also found that gay couples are tying the knot at a slightly older age than their straight peers – although it remains to be seen how this trend will change as the new laws bed in.

According to the figures, the average age of couples in same sex marriages in 2016 was 40.7 years – compared to straight grooms who are usually 35.7 and brides who are 33.8.

Men are taking the plunge nearly seven years later than they were in 1966 according to the figures - while the average age of a bride has risen by eight years.

Doctor Paul Ryan from the Department of Sociology at Maynooth University said the same sex marriage rate is slightly lower than expected – possibly because many couples who were already in civil partnership have chosen not to change their status.

“If you did have civil partnership you are entitled to keep it and not convert,” he said.

“So what is interesting for us is I suppose the percentage that will choose to keep that civil partnership and those that will go forward to convert it into a civil marriage.”

Marriage ceremony

Religious ceremonies still account for the majority of all marriages – at 64.8%.

There were 12,140 Catholic ceremonies – accounting for 53.7% of the total – and 6,438 non-religious ceremonies – 28.5% of the total.

The Spiritualist Union of Ireland performed 4.6% of Irish marriages while 6.8% of couples opted for a Humanist ceremony.

September was the most popular month for same sex marriages while July was most popular for opposite sex unions.