3310.0 - Marriages and Divorces, Australia, 2017  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/11/2018   
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SAME-SEX MARRIAGE IN AUSTRALIA - A 2018 SNAPSHOT

On 15 November 2017, the Australian Bureau of Statistics announced the results of the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey. A total of 12.7 million (79.5 per cent) of eligible Australians expressed their view, with the majority (61.6 per cent) indicating that the law should be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry. All states and territories recorded a majority 'Yes' response.


Amendments to the Marriage Act 1961 came into effect on the 9 December 2017 enabling same-sex couples to legally marry in Australia. The right to marry under Australian law is no longer determined by sex or gender and the Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM) form has been updated to reflect these changes.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has worked in conjunction with the Attorney-General’s Department and the state and territory Registries of Births, Deaths and Marriages to collect and publish statistics on same-sex marriages from the date of this legislative change.

Data and information about all marriages registered for 2018 will be released as per the normal publication schedule in November 2019. However, due to public interest, this publication contains some preliminary estimates about Australian same-sex marriages registered from the commencement of legislative change up to and including 30 June 2018. Data is presented on a state or territory of registration basis rather than a state or territory of usual residence.

When completing Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM) forms, parties may choose to use the term that best describes their gender. There are three options for sex: ‘Male’, ‘Female’ and ‘X’ (any person who does not choose to identify as either male or female).

Marriages registered where both partners identified as female are referred to in ABS marriages statistics as a female same-sex marriage, and marriages where both partners identified as male are described as a male same-sex marriage. Registered marriages where one or more persons have not identified as either male or female have been excluded from counts of male or female same-sex marriages, and can not be tabulated separately due to confidentiality reasons.

WHO'S GETTING MARRIED?

In 2016, the Census of Population and Housing (Census) counted just under 46,800 same-sex couples living together in Australia. This accounts for 0.9 per cent of all couples living together in Australia. Almost two-thirds (63 per cent) of same-sex couples lived in New South Wales or Victoria, compared to 57 per cent of all couples.

Data from the Registries of Births, Deaths and Marriages show that 3,149 same-sex weddings have been held in Australia in the first 6 months since the legislative change. Over one third of same-sex marriages have been in New South Wales, with 1,090 same-sex marriages making up 34.6 per cent of those registered nationally.

Same-sex marriages, States and territories of registration, 9 December 2017 – 30 June 2018 (a)(b)


NSW
Vic.
Qld.
SA
WA
Tas.
NT
ACT
Aust.

Marriages Registered(c)no.
1,090
826
595
174
315
67
23
59
3,149
Proportion%
34.6
26.2
18.9
5.5
10.0
2.1
0.7
1.9
100

(a) Preliminary data presented is for the period 9 December until 30 June 2018 and is subject to change.
(b) Care should be taken in interpreting this table as marriage data are by state or territory of registration rather than usual residence. See Explanatory Note 32 for further information.
(c) Excludes marriages registered where one or more members of the marriage did not exclusively identify as either male or female. See Explanatory Note 23 for further information.


Same-sex female couples were more eager to wed following amendments to Australia’s marriage laws, with 1,773 (56.3 per cent) registered by 30 June 2018, compared to 1,376 (43.7 per cent) male same-sex couples. Of these registered marriages, 85.8 per cent (1,180) of males and 80.5 per cent (1,427) of females had never been married before.


Proportion of male and female same-sex marriages, States and Territories of registration, 9 December 2017 – 30 June 2018 (a)(b)(c)

Image: Graph highlighting the proportion of male versus female same sex marriages for each state and territory for the period 9 December 2017 to 30 June 2018

(a) Preliminary data presented is for the period 9 December until 30 June 2018 and is subject to change.
(b) Care should be taken in interpreting this table as marriage data are by state or territory of registration rather than usual residence. See Explanatory Note 32 for further information.
(c) Excludes marriages registered where one or more members of the marriage did not exclusively identify as either male or female. See Explanatory Note 23 for further information.


AGE OF WEDDED COUPLES

The median age at marriage for male same-sex couples as at 30 June 2018 was 48.5 years of age, compared to 39.0 years of age for female same-sex couples.

The younger age ranges (primarily between 20-44 years of age) had a higher proportion of females marrying, while male same-sex marriages outnumbered females in older age groups (65 years of age and over).

Graph Image for Same-sex registered marriages, Age group, Males and Females, Dec 2017-Jun 2018(a)(b)

Footnote(s): (a) Preliminary data presented is for the period 9 December until 30 June 2018 and is subject to change. (b) Excludes marriages registered where one or more members of the marriage did not exclusively identify as either male or female. See Explanatory Note 23 for further information.

Source(s): Same-sex registered marriages, Age group, Males and Females, Dec 2017-Jun 2018(a)(b)-Same-sex registered marriages, Age group, Males and Females, Dec 2017-Jun 2018(a)(b)



MOST POPULAR TIME TO SAY "I DO"

After changes to the marriage law passed in December 2017, couples were required to wait at least one month to marry after giving an authorised celebrant a completed Notice of Intended Marriage form1. In certain circumstances, a couple can seek permission from a prescribed authority to marry earlier and a shorter notice time may be approved in some limited cases. January 9 was the first day most same-sex couples could wed, however Saturday April 21, has proven to be the most popular day to tie the knot so far in 2018.

Of the 3,149 same-sex marriages registered as at 30 June 2018, the most popular month of celebration was March with 714 (22.7 per cent) marriages. The number of weekends in a month influences the number of weddings in that month, so this should be taken into consideration when interpreting the data.

Civil marriages have strongly outnumbered religious ceremonies, with 99.0 per cent of same-sex marriages performed by civil celebrants.

Graph Image for Same-sex registered marriages, Month of marriage, Dec 2017-Jun 2018(a)(b)

Footnote(s): (a) Preliminary data presented is for the period 9 December until 30 June 2018 and is subject to change. (b) Excludes marriages registered where one or more members of the marriage did not exclusively identify as either male or female. See Explanatory Note 23 for further information.

Source(s): Same-sex registered marriages, Month of marriage, Dec 2017-Jun 2018(a)(b)-Same-sex registered marriages, Month of marriage, Dec 2017-Jun 2018(a)(b)

1 In certain circumstances, a couple can seek permission from a prescribed authority to marry earlier and a shorter notice time may be approved in some limited cases.