Northern Ireland records more than 800 same-sex marriages in three years since legalisation

The Northern Ireland Statistic and Research Agency reported that 158 same-sex marriages took place in the country in 2020, 396 in 2021, and 266 in 2022. 

This article is about same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland. The image shows the torsos of two men, dressed in suits. The man on the left wears a navy suit and holds a rose in his hands, the man on the left wears a grey suit. The pair are linking arms.
Image: Ground Picture via Shutterstock

Same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland was first signed into law in December 2019 by then-Secretary of State Julian Smith. By January 13, 2020, the first same-sex marriages in the country were able to occur. Over the subsequent three years, as many as 800 same-sex marriages have been officiated in Northern Ireland, with even more LGBTQ+ weddings taking place in England and Wales according to a recent report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). 

The figures, provided by ONS, record the number of same-sex marriages that have occurred in the UK since marriage equality legislation was passed. In reference to Northern Ireland, ONS reported that 158 same-sex marriages were held in the first year following the legislation’s implementation. That number increased to 396 in 2021, followed by 266 marriages in 2022. Numbers for 2023 have not yet been provided by ONS. 

These figures have been corroborated by the Northern Ireland Statistic and Research Agency, who similarly reported that 158 same-sex marriages took place in the country in 2020, 396 in 2021, and 266 in 2022. 

The report also shared same-sex marriage statistics for Scotland, which legalised the practice on December 16, 2014. According to ONS, approximately 6,329 same-sex marriages have occurred in Scotland between the end of 2014 and the end of 2021. 

It similarly shared figures for same-sex marriages in England and Wales, which legalised same-sex marriage in March 2014. The report showed that approximately 167,000 people currently living in the two countries have entered into same-sex marriages in the last decade. 

By the end of 2015, the ONS reported, approximately 26,000 people entered into same-sex marriages in England and Wales, with that number increasing to 121,000 by 2018, and 167,000 by 2022. These figures mean that 0.7% of the countries’ populations have entered into same-sex marriages, up from 0.1% in 2015.

Throughout March, England and Wales have been celebrating 10 years of same-sex marriage, with TV host Lorraine Kelly hosting Britain’s first live on-air gay wedding on March 27. Wearing a shimmery rainbow dress, the Scottish presenter officiated the blessing of Cardiff couple Luke Avaient and Gavin Sheppard on her popular mid-morning chat show, declaring, “It’s a real privilege for me to bear witness to your wedding and to show people across the country that Love is Love.”

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